Fish & Sharks

Fish are extremely diverse animals living in a variety of habitats ranging from coral reefs and kelp forests to rivers, streams, and the open ocean. Most fish can be categorized into one of two primary groups: bony fish (Osteichthyes) and cartilaginous fish (Chondrichthyes). The skeleton of bony fish is made of bones, while that of cartilaginous fish is made of cartilage. Cartilaginous fish include sharks, skates, and rays.

Most fish under NOAA Fisheries’ jurisdiction are marine fish that spend their entire life in salt water. Others are anadromous—like some species of salmon and sturgeon—which begin their lives in freshwater, migrate to the ocean to grow into adults, and then return to freshwater to spawn.

NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the sustainable management of many species of fish under the Magnuson-Stevens Act that are targeted for human consumption and other uses like fertilizer. Some of these fish include Pacific bluefin tuna, Alaska pollock, and summer flounder. We are also responsible for protecting fish species listed under the Endangered Species Act like Atlantic sturgeon and oceanic whitetip shark.

Species News

Photo of observer fish sampling station on a fishing vessel deck Observer sampling area on a pot-fishing vessel. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.
Shrimp, scallop, and fish dish Shrimp, scallops, mussels, and white fish. Photo credit: iStock
An image of the Lawrence Creek with added woody debris in California. Lawrence Creek in the Eel River watershed in California. Credit: Trout Unlimited


Florida Atlantic University Exempted Fishing Permit Application

The National Marine Fisheries Service received an application for an EFP from Florida Atlantic University.

2021 Alaska Fisheries Science Center Groundfish Seminar Series

2021 Groundfish Seminars held virtually using Webex - Tuesdays @ 10am Pacific.

Resource Ecology and Ecosystem Modeling

We create various types of statistical models that incorporate ecosystem information such as predator-prey relationships, food web relationships, diet analysis and socio-economic data that is used to inform fishery management decisions for Alaska…

Frequently Asked Questions: Research Set-Aside Program

Detailed information about the Northeast's research funding program.


Understanding Fisheries Management in the United States

NOAA Fisheries is responsible for managing marine fisheries within the U.S. exclusive economic zone. Learn more about the sustainable management of our marine fisheries.



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