Offshore fishing grounds have drawn people to the coast for thousands of years, and early settlers reaped the benefits of marine food sources on the coast of the United States.
Fishing remains an important economic activity in the coastal waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Shellfish such as crabs and lobsters are found in New England. Finfish, including black sea bass, summer flounder, and Atlantic croaker, frequent the mid-Atlantic coast. The Chesapeake Bay has been famous for its oysters, which are now at risk from man-made pressures.
Along with commercial fishing, recreational fishing has grown in popularity, particularly in resort areas on the Atlantic coast. The Corps values the economic and environmental significance of fisheries, and they strive to find engineering alternatives that do not adversely impact marine life.
For example, offshore shoals, which are often dredged as sediment sources for beach nourishment projects, are evaluated for their importance as fishing grounds and fish habitats. Deeper regions surrounding offshore shoals have been observed as biologically rich areas, and if a potential sand source hosts active fishing grounds, it is excluded as a dredging source. Collaboration with government and scientific agencies and thorough review processes allow the Corps to protect coastal resources while addressing coastal needs.