Stellwagen Map
Read about the report in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary press release. *Download Recommendation: Because of occasional download conflicts with web browsers, we recommend that you right-click and save the pdf to your desktop. Then open using Acrobat.

Abstract
Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary contains one of the richest and most productive marine habitats in the U.S. It is home to a diverse fish community and serves as one of the most important feeding grounds in the North Atlantic for a number of migratory endangered whale species as well as some apex fish predators such as bluefin tuna and sharks. Located just offshore of the Boston metropolis of 4.8 million people, the sanctuary is subject to intense human use that includes whale watching, commercial and recreational fishing, vessel traffic, and nearby sewage and other material disposal. It may also soon be adjacent to a deepwater port for the transfer of liquefied natural gas, an activity that could pose additional hazards. More...

Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary Condition Summary Table
By assuming that a common marine ecosystem framework can be applied to all places, the National Marine Sanctuary program developed a series of questions that are posed at all sites and used as evaluation criteria to assess resource condition and trends.

Q & A about Condition Reports

About This
Report

Abstract

What is System Wide Monitoring?

Site History and Resources

Pressures on the Sanctuary

State of Sanctuary Resources

Sanctuary Response

Concluding Remarks

Rating Scheme

Download This Report
  Questions/
Resources
Rating Basis For Judgement Description Findings Sanctuary Response
WATER
1.Are specific or multiple stressors, including changing oceanographic and atmospheric conditions, affecting water quality?
hyphen
Numerous contaminants at low levels Selected conditions may preclude full development of living resource assemblages and habitats, but are not likely to cause substantial or persistent declines. Regulations specify allowable discharges and prohibit lightering; draft management plan increases focus on water quality monitoring, ballast water management, and contingency planning
2.What is the eutrophic condition of sanctuary waters and how is it changing?
hyphen
Specific aspects of ongoing monitoring Conditions do not appear to have the potential to negatively affect living resources or habitat quality.
3.Do sanctuary waters pose risks to human health?
hyphen
Specific aspects of ongoing monitoring Conditions do not appear to have the potential to negatively affect human health.
4.What are the levels of human activities that may influence water quality and how are they changing?
hyphen
Vessel discharges and outfall discharge Some potentially harmful activities exist, but they do not appear to have had a negative effect on water quality.
HABITAT
5.What are the abundance and distribution of major habitat types and how are they changing?
conditions do not appear to be changing
Alteration of microhabitat due to bottom dragging & dredging Selected habitat loss or alteration may inhibit the development of assemblages, and may cause measurable but not severe declines in living resources or water quality. Regulations address habitat disturbance from fishing, ocean dumping, dredge spoil, construction, and mineral removal; plans are needed to address impacts of cable and pipeline laying, ocean dumping, and mariculture, and to reduce impacts of mobile fishing gear and biomass removal
6.What is the condition of biologically-structured habitats and how is it changing?
conditions do not appear to be changing
Fishing gear impacts Selected habitat loss or alteration has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in some but not all living resources or water quality.
7.What are the contaminant concentrations in sanctuary habitats and how are they changing?
hyphen
Limited monitoring results Selected contaminants may preclude full development of living resource assemblages, but are not likely to cause substantial or persistent degradation.
8.What are the levels of human activities that may influence habitat quality and how are they changing?
conditions are declining
Fishing gear impacts Selected activities have caused or are likely to cause severe impacts, and cases to date suggest a pervasive problem.
LIVING RESOURCES
9.What is the status of biodiversity and how is it changing?
up arrow
Long-term changes in fish diversity Selected biodiversity loss has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in some but not all ecosystem components and reduce ecosystem integrity. Working to reduce vessel strikes to marine mammals by moving current shipping lane slightly north and promoting voluntary speed limits and compliance with whale watching guidelines; studying the impacts of noise on marine mammals; working to reduce deaths by entanglement through reporting and response, and fishing gear restrictions
10. What is the status of environmentally sustainable fishing and how is it changing?
conditions do not appear to be changing
Published and unpublished literature on regional and local groundfish populations Extraction has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in some but not all ecosystem components and reduce ecosystem integrity.
11.What is the status of non-indigenous species and how is it changing?
up arrow
Recent invasives discovered Non-indigenous species exist, precluding full community development and function, but are unlikely to cause substantial or persistent degradation of ecosystem integrity.
12.What is the status of key species and how is it changing?
hyphen
Cod (keystone species) Sand lance (key species) The reduced abundance of selected keystone species has caused or is likely to cause severe declines in some but not all ecosystem components and reduce ecosystem integrity; or, selected key species are at substantially reduced levels, and prospects for recovery are uncertain.
13.What is the condition or health of key species and how is it changing?
hyphen
Whale strikes & entanglements The diminished condition of selected key resources may cause a measurable but not severe reduction in ecological function, but recovery is possible.
14.What are the levels of human activities that may influence living resource quality and how are they changing?
hyphen
Stable levels of activity Selected activities have caused or are likely to cause severe impacts, and cases to date suggest a pervasive problem.
MARITIME ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESOURCES
15.What is the integrity of known maritime archaeological resources and how is it changing?
Fishing gear impacts The diminished condition of selected archaeological resources has reduced, to some extent, their historical, scientific, or educational value, and may affect the eligibility of some sites for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Regulations restrict seabed alteration, construction, disposal, and historical resource movement or removal; enhanced protection will require additional staff, resource inventory and assessment, and outreach
16.Do known maritime archaeological resources pose an environmental hazard and is this threat changing?
hyphen
Lack of hazardous cargo Known maritime archaeological resources pose few or no environmental threats.
17.What are the levels of human activities that may influence maritime archaeological resource quality and how are they changing?
Fishing gear impacts Selected activities warrant widespread concern and action, as large-scale, persistent, and/or repeated severe impacts have occurred or are likely to occur.

leaving site indicates a link leaves the site. Please view our Link Disclaimer for more information.
Revised October 06, 2011 by Sanctuaries Web Team | Contact Us | Web Site Owner: National Ocean Service
National Ocean Service | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration | Privacy Policy | For Employees | User Survey
http://sanctuaries.noaa.gov/science/condition/sbnms/welcome.html