NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the stewardship of the nation's ocean resources and their habitat. We provide vital services for the nation: productive and sustainable fisheries, safe sources of seafood, the recovery and conservation of protected resources, and healthy ecosystems—all backed by sound science and an ecosystem-based approach to management.
U.S. fisheries are among the world’s largest and most sustainable. Seafood harvested from U.S. federally managed fisheries is inherently sustainable as a result of the U.S. fishery management process. Using the Magnuson-Stevens Act as the guide, NOAA Fisheries works in partnership with Regional Fishery Management Councils to assess and predict the status of fish stocks, set catch limits, ensure compliance with fisheries regulations, and reduce bycatch.
The resilience of our marine ecosystems and coastal communities depend on healthy marine species, including protected species such as whales, sea turtles, corals, and salmon. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, NOAA Fisheries works to recover protected marine species while allowing economic and recreational opportunities.
NOAA Fisheries, also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service, is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the Department of Commerce. We have five regional offices, six science centers, and more than 20 laboratories around the United States and U.S. territories, and we work with partners across the nation.
474 fish stocks
We track 474 stocks or stock complexes in 46 fishery management plans. Under the science-based framework of the Magnuson-Stevens Act and our efforts, 45 stocks have been rebuilt and the number of stocks on the overfishing and overfished lists remain near all-time lows.
3 million square miles of open-ocean and more than 95,000 miles of coastline
Our primary jurisdiction is the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, which includes waters from 3 to 200 miles off the U.S. coast, including more than 3 million square miles of open-ocean and more than 95,000 miles of coastline.
164 endangered and threatened species
We have jurisdiction over 164 endangered and threatened marine species, including 66 foreign species.
1.7 million jobs and $212 billion in sales
We monitor, protect, and sustainably manage the nation’s fisheries, which generated $212 billion in sales and created 1.7 million jobs in 2016.
- Advanced restoration of Gulf of Mexico resources impacted by the 2010 oil spill, completing 43 projects totaling $117 million to restore coastal habitats, oysters, recreational uses, and water quality.
- Led an investigation into fraud where nearly 400,000 pounds of foreign crab meat was falsely labeled as "Product of USA," protecting industry members who abide by the rules and consumers from fraud schemes.
- Established the Seafood Import Monitoring Program, which collects traceable data on 13 imported fish species to help prevent illegal, unreported, and unregulated seafood from entering U.S. commerce.
- Implemented a new, more accurate method for estimating the number of trips taken by recreational anglers, which will improve our understanding of marine ecosystems' health and better guide management decisions.
- Provided $1.5 million to support regional aquaculture pilot projects. The 14 selected projects are developing techniques and business models to grow domestic seafood production and addressing industry barriers.
- Released approximately 200,000 hatchery-reared Chinook salmon into newly restored habitat to establish additional populations of Sacramento River winter-run Chinook salmon and recover these endangered salmon.
Who We Are
Who We Are
NOAA Fisheries employs about 4,200 staff including scientists, policy managers, and enforcement officers, located across the country at our regional offices, science centers and labs, and national headquarters in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Scroll below to meet our leadership and see our organization chart. Or download our organization chart (PDF, 1 page).