NOAA Fisheries has the primary responsibility under federal law to collect the science needed to support sustainable management, conservation, and protection of living marine resources within the U.S. EEZ.
To implement its fisheries research mission in Alaska, the Alaska Fisheries Science Center must comply with several environmental laws by securing research authorizations. The Center prepared a Programmatic Environmental Assessment under the guidance of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). From this process, a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) was determined. This means that the Center’s fisheries research activities will not cause a major impact on the environment.
Marine Mammal Protection Act
The Center was issued a Letters of Authorization (LOA) by National Marine Fisheries Service under Section 101 (a) (5) (A) of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) and has received a similar letter of concurrence by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. These letters allow for the unintentional taking of a small number of marine mammals during fisheries research activities.
Endangered Species Act
Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), two Biological Opinions (BiOp) and Incidental Take Statements have been issued to the Center for its fisheries research. The BiOps conducted by the National Marine Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allow for the unintentional taking of a small number of marine mammals and Short-tailed Albatross respectively.
Historical Preservation Act, Essential Fish Habitat and Others
The Center has received letters of concurrence that fisheries research activities avoid adverse impacts to historic properties and essential fish habitat.