Large Marine Ecosystems

In cooperation with the University of Rhode Island, NOAA developed the Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) concept over 30 years ago as a model to implement ecosystem approaches to assessing, managing, recovering, and sustaining LME resources and environments. Today there are 64 LMEs defined globally, of which 11 are located within the US Exclusive Economic Zone. Through NOAA’s LME Program, we continue to support this important and unique international initiative.



International Relevance

The Global Environment Facility (GEF) has adopted this LME concept as the marine component of their International Waters focal area. There are now more than 16 GEF funded multinational and transboundary LME projects. NOAA provides science and technical expertise (e.g. fisheries, ecosystems, climate and ocean observations) to many of these projects and participates as a member of project steering committees.

What We Do

The NMFS Office of Science and Technology is home to the NOAA LME program and coordinates NOAA’s participation in the LME projects including for the Agulhas and Somali Currents, Guinea Current, Canary Current, Bay of Bengal, and Yellow Sea LMEs. Because the US shares LME boundaries in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea LMEs, we are a full country partner in these two projects.



More Information 

NOAA’s LME Program Site

Global Environment Facility

International Waters Focal Area