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

Management Team

Other Locations

Atlantic HMS Management Division - Northeast Branch

The Highly Migratory Division for the Northeast Branch

Atlantic HMS Management Division - Southeast Branch

National Seafood Inspection Laboratory