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

Harbor with trawl vessels and snowcapped mountains Trawl EM vessels at their home port in Sand Point, AK.
A red fish swims in front of a large pile of rocks. Onaga (longtail snapper or flame snapper, Etelis coruscans) can be found in the waters surrounding the Hawaiian Archipelago, and are one of the species that make up "Hawaiʻi’s Deep 7." Photo: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research
Snow covered mountains reflect off of placid water containing rocky islands, pine trees, and grassy tussocks Snow capped mountains reflect off the waters of the Prince William Sound in the Gulf of Alaska. Credit: NOAA Fisheries.


2022 North Pacific Groundfish Stock Assessments

2022 North Pacific Groundfish Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Reports for 2023 Fisheries

North Pacific Groundfish Stock Assessments and Fishery Evaluation Reports

Alaska Groundfish Stock Assessments, Economic Status Reports, and Ecosystem Status Reports.

Peer-Reviewed Research

The CALFISH database: A century of California's non-confidential fisheries landings and participation data

Scientists curated 100 years worth of data describing landings and participation in California’s…

Information on Snow Crab and Salmon in Alaska

Frequent Questions - Snow Crab and Salmon in Alaska Collaborative Marine Salmon Research Foundational for Understanding Climate Change Impacts and Bycatch Genetic Studies of Salmon Bycatch Genetics Research at the Alaska Fisheries Science…

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.