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

A fish leaping above fast-moving water Atlantic salmon. Credit: National Park Service.
A colony of bamboo coral with crinoids on Mytilus Seamount, which is within both the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument and the Georges Bank Deep-Sea Coral Protected Area. A colony of bamboo coral with crinoids on Mytilus Seamount, which is within both the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument and the Georges Bank Deep-Sea Coral Protected Area. While exploring this area in 2013, researchers observed that corals were diverse, but their composition and abundance differed between the north and south side of the seamount. Credit: NOAA Ocean Exploration, Northeast U.S. Canyons Expedition 2013.
Two people in construction hats and vests working in a field in front of a piece of heavy machinery Fence installation along a tributary of the Shasta River. Credit: Erika Nortemann.

Research

Peer-Reviewed Research

Quantifying the Accuracy of Shark Bycatch Estimations in Tuna Purse Seine Fisheries

Scientists were strategically positioned during fishing sets in order to establish a reference…

Frequently Asked Questions: Research Set-Aside Program

Detailed information about the Northeast's research funding program.

Fisheries Resources Division Survey Logs

Survey logs detailing the many surveys the Fisheries Resources Division hosts throughout the year.

Monitoring Thiamine Deficiency in California Salmon

Our team works with anglers and fishing industry partners to monitor the nutritional status of Chinook salmon caught in the Central California coastal fishery.

Insight

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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Species

156 species match your filter criteria.