About Us

Our Mission

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.


​​​​​​​U.S. commercial and recreational fishing industries support 1.62 million jobs, with Florida, California, and Massachusetts supporting the most jobs.


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The U.S. economy generates $208 billion in sales from U.S. businesses in the commercial and recreational fishing industries.


$1.6 million jobs and $208 billion in sales

We monitor, protect, and sustainably manage the nation’s fisheries, which generated $208 billion in sales and created 1.6 million jobs in 2015.


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, 41 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.

157 endangered and threatened species

We have jurisdiction over 157 endangered and threatened marine species, including 63 foreign species.

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Regional Highlights



Recent Accomplishments

Rebuilt 41 fish stocks since enacting the Magnuson-Stevens Act in 1976, and the number of overfished stocks remain near all-time lows.
Launched the Species in the Spotlight: Survive to Thrive campaign to rally public and private support in stabilizing the populations of the eight most endangered species under our purview.
Developed the National Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Policy and Implementation Plan to serve recreational anglers and their communities better.
Began habitat restoration activities in the Gulf of Mexico in the wake of an $18 billion settlement following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
Implemented the nation’s first comprehensive regulatory program for aquaculture in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico to expand seafood production and create jobs sustainably.
Developed an Ecosystem-based Fishery Management Policy and Road Map for Implementation to help us maintain resilient and healthy ecosystems.