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.
2023 North Pacific Groundfish Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Reports for 2024 Fisheries
Exempted Fishing Permit: Quantification of Bycatch Composition and Survival in the Commercial Menhaden Purse Seine Fishery
Gulf of Mexico Exempted Fishing Permit. For more information, contact: Joy Merino; (727) 824-5305, Joy.Merino@noaa.gov or Jennifer Lee at Jennifer.Lee@noaa.gov
Microplastics Absent From Reef Fish in the Marshall Islands: Multistage Screening Methods Reduced False Positives
No plastic >1 mm were found in the Republic of the Marshall Islands reef fish, reassuring human…
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.