Alaska Fisheries Science Center

Monitoring the health and sustainability of fish, marine mammals, and their habitats across nearly 1.5 million square miles of water surrounding the state, which produces more than half of the fish caught in the United States, worth $1.8 billion.

Our Location

Alaska has five large marine ecosystems, or ecosystem complexes, each with unique characteristics. The Gulf of Alaska and the Bering Sea are especially resource-rich and support some of the largest and most valuable commercial fisheries in the world, like Alaska pollock, red king crab, and sablefish. The Gulf of Alaska is shaped by deep-sea gullies, islands, and massive inlets that channel in fresh water and nutrients. The Bering Sea’s unique currents and the annual migration of sea ice from the Arctic provide the right conditions to allow fish like Alaska pollock—the largest sustainable fishery in the world—to flourish. Aleutian Islands marine life is diverse with many species that only exist along the island chain’s span of nearly 1,200 miles. The expansive Arctic Ocean is made up of the north Bering Sea along with the Chukchi and Beaufort seas where you can find marine mammals like bowhead and beluga whales, and bearded and ringed seals.

Our Leadership

Management Team

Other Locations

Auke Bay Laboratories

The Auke Bay Laboratories is headquartered at the Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute. This "green" facility includes 66,000 square feet of office space and 33,000 square feet of lab space. It is located at Lena Point, north of Juneau, Alaska. Other facilities include: Auke Bay Marine Station – Auke Bay, Juneau AK, the Auke Creek Research Station – Auke Creek, Juneau, AK, Juneau Subport and Dock – downtown Juneau, AK, Little Port Walter Marine Station – on southern Baranof Island and Pribilof Island facilities – Bering Sea, Alaska.

Kodiak Laboratory

The 25,000 square foot Kodiak Laboratory is part of the Kodiak Fisheries Research Center owned by the Kodiak Island Borough. The Center was designed with state-of-the-art seawater and necropsy labs and is home to a multi-agency marine research facility. Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering scientists for both Shellfish and Groundfish Assessment Programs conduct field and laboratory research on the abundance and distribution of marine invertebrate and fish populations, their life history, population dynamics, habitats, ecological interactions, and impacts of human activities such as bycatch, discard mortality, and habitat alteration. Scientists also provide information necessary to conserve, protect, and manage economically important Alaskan shellfish resources, including king, Tanner, and snow crabs, for the benefit of the nation. NOAA Fisheries W.F. Thompson Memorial Library (1800 sq ft) is housed here.

Newport Laboratory

The Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Fisheries Behavioral Ecology Program is located at the Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. The Hatfield Marine Science Center was created to serve the scientific needs of various organizations and government agencies and includes the Oregon State University building constructed in 1965 and the NOAA facilities which were completed in 1981. NOAA and Oregon State University staff at the Hatfield Center are currently located in two federal government-owned buildings which are managed by the Northwest Fisheries Science Center. The Fisheries Behavioral Ecology Program conducts laboratory research on the behavioral responses of commercially important marine fish to environmental factors that are critical to controlling distribution and survival from egg to adult. Research also focuses on defining the factors which affect post-capture survival and mortality of fish that are caught as bycatch. The experimental laboratories consist of more than 17,000 cubic feet of tank space housed in more than 18,000 square feet of wet laboratory space supplied with 500 gallons per minute of high quality seawater, 200 gallons per minute of which can be chilled to 3° C. Species of current interest include walleye pollock, sablefish, and Pacific halibut.

Little Port Walter Research Station

NOAA’s Little Port Walter Research Station (LPW) was established in 1934 and is the oldest year-round biological field station in Alaska. LPW is located on the southeastern side of Baranof Island, approximately 115 miles south of Juneau, Alaska, in a pristine and biologically strategic location on U.S. Forest Service land in the Tongass National Forest. Over the last 90 years, LPW has served scientists studying the ecology and evolution of Pacific salmonids, the effects of hatchery practices on genetic and life history diversity of salmon, rockfish behavior, coral growth rates, age and growth studies of groundfish, and the ecology of other marine organisms. This research has also included numerous government and stakeholder collaborators, university professors and graduate students, and interns from across the United States. Activities at LPW have contributed to several hundred publications, reports, and documents that improve our scientific understanding of marine resources important to Alaska and the nation. LPW’s Chinook salmon research also contributes to salmon management under the Pacific Salmon Treaty, specifically for stock assessment and the estimation of harvest rates for Southeast Alaska Chinook populations. Scientists at LPW are currently engaged in research that improves our understanding of sustainable aquaculture (salmon, oysters, kelp), salmon ecology and evolution, and transportation and bioaccumulation of chemicals in commercial fish stocks. LPW is also contributing to the development of transformative approaches to rapidly assess critical life history stages and energetic responses of marine fishes to climate change.

Auke Creek Research Station

Located 12 miles from downtown Juneau, Auke Creek Research Station is operated by the Auke Bay Laboratories Salmon Ocean Ecology study program on a cooperative basis with University of Alaska Fairbanks, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and the University of Alaska Southeast. The long time series of observations on the seven anadromous fish species made at the Station’s counting weir is not available elsewhere in Alaska. First hand evidence of changes in fish populations in response to climate change is provided by the biological and environmental information generated at this Station. Its information is also used by ADF&G to guide harvest management decisions on commercial and recreational fisheries in the region. An experimental hatchery located near the mouth of the stream provides insights into the genetic basis for many aspects of the behavior of anadromous fish species, and it has been used to train three generations of graduate students in genetics and salmonid biology. The accessibility of the Station by road from the urban area of Juneau makes it a popular scientific educational resource for Juneau Public Schools and the general public.

Advanced Technologies

NOAA Fisheries is a leader in the use of advanced technologies. Our scientists use a variety of technologies to study the marine environment and the species that call it home.