Fishing nets
About Us

Office of Sustainable Fisheries

Working to ensure U.S. fisheries are sustainably managed.

What We Do

The Office of Sustainable Fisheries supports implementation of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA), manages fisheries for Atlantic highly migratory species, and helps ensure the safety of seafood sold in the United States. We work with our regional offices and science centers in partnership with the regional fishery management councils, interstate marine fishery commissions, and states to ensure U.S. fisheries are sustainably managed. We also engage the commercial and recreational fishing industry, seafood dealers, environmental groups, federal agencies, academia, and the general public to ensure sustainable fisheries, sustainable economies, and safe seafood.

Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Management

We manage fisheries for highly migratory species (HMS)—tunas, sharks, swordfish, and billfish—in U.S. Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean waters. The division:

  • Develops and implements fishery management plans in cooperation with the HMS advisory panel.

  • Monitors commercial and recreational catches to ensure compliance with domestic and international quotas and/or catch limits.

  • Issues permits for commercial and recreational HMS fishing and scientific research.

  • Implements domestic requirements of the International Convention for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) and supports international negotiations for ICCAT, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Domestic Fisheries

We support implementation of the MSA and provide national policy direction to ensure the sustainable management of U.S. fisheries. We collaborate with other NOAA Fisheries offices, science centers, the regional fishery management councils, Interstate Fisheries Commissions, and states on national policies and regulations to:

  • Prevent overfishing and rebuild depleted stocks.

  • Implement annual catch limits and accountability measures.

  • Determine and track the status of fish stocks.

  • Reduce bycatch.

  • Support catch share programs.

  • Provide fishery disaster assistance.

  • Support recreational fishing.

  • Coordinate ecosystem-based fisheries management implementation.

National Seafood Inspection Laboratory

We are an accredited ISO 17025 laboratory that promotes seafood product safety and quality and supports seafood-related commerce and trade. Our experts provide:

  • Analytical laboratory and scientific support of Seafood Inspection Program surveillance/audit programs.

  • Database management, document control, and monitoring of imports and exports.

  • Analysis and certification of aquatic animal byproducts (e.g., fishmeal) not intended for human consumption.

  • Methods to ensure safe seafood including applying microbiological and chemical analysis to identify threats to seafood safety, banned substances, and species substitution.

  • Scientific advice to other federal agencies, national and international committees and conferences, and the seafood industry.

Operations and Regulatory Services

We provide resources, support, oversight, and technical tools for the office to operate efficiently and effectively, while ensuring compliance with agency policy and regulations. The division:

  • Provides operational and administrative services related to personnel actions, procurement, travel, property management, Freedom of Information Act requests, and safety and environmental compliance.

  • Plans, allocates, and monitors national fishery management and Office of Sustainable Fisheries fiscal resources.

  • Develops, recommends, coordinates, and oversees procedures for clearing fishery management regulations through NOAA Fisheries Headquarters, NOAA, the Department of Commerce, and the Office of Management and Budget.

  • Develops guidelines for the operation and administration of the regional fishery management councils, including coordinating council appointments, training new council members, and publishing council meeting notices.

Our Leadership

Alan Risenhoover


As director of the Office of Sustainable Fisheries since 2006, Mr. Risenhoover is responsible for implementing the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and other laws in support of NOAA Fisheries’ commitment to ensuring sustainable fisheries and science-based management. He came to Washington, D.C., in 1988 as a Knauss Sea Grant Fellow. Mr. Risenhoover holds a B.S. in Aquatic Zoology from Colorado State University and an M.S. in Fish and Wildlife Sciences from Texas A&M University.

Jenni Wallace

Acting Deputy Director

Ms. Wallace joined the Office of Sustainable Fisheries in August of 2011. As Chief of the Operations & Regulatory Services Division, her role is to provide resources, support, oversight, and technical tools for the Office to operate efficiently and effectively, while ensuring compliance with agency policy and regulations. She came to NOAA Fisheries in 2002 as a Presidential Management Intern. Ms. Wallace holds a B.S. in Marine Biology from Eckerd College and a Masters of Environmental Management from Duke University.
Management Team
Atlantic Highly Migratory Species Management
Margo Schulze-Haugen

Division Chief

HQ Fish
Karyl Brewster-Geisz ,
Branch Chief

Operations & Planning
Peter Cooper ,
Branch Chief

Brad McHale ,
Branch Chief

Randy Blankinship ,
Branch Chief

Domestic Fisheries
Kelly Denit

Division Chief

Sustainable Stocks & Ecosystems
Karen Abrams ,
Branch Chief

Policy and Guidance
Stephanie Hunt ,
Branch Chief

Fishery Management & Coordination
Rachel Baker ,
Branch Chief

Operations & Regulatory Services
Katy Barrett

Acting Division Chief

Tracey Thompson ,
Branch Chief

National Seafood Inspection Laboratory
Dr. Jon Bell

Division Chief

Analytical Program
Angela Ruple ,
Branch Chief