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Organization Information

Name: Alaska Fisheries Science Center
Acronym: AFSC
Type: Fisheries Science Center
Library: Alaska Fisheries Science Center Metadata Library

The Alaska Fisheries Science Center is the research branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service responsible for research on living marine resources in the coastal oceans off Alaska and off parts of the west coast of the United States. This region of nearly 3 million square miles includes the North Pacific Ocean and the eastern Bering Sea which support some of the most important commercial fisheries in the world. These waters are also home to the largest marine mammal populations in the Nation.

The mission of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center is to plan, develop, and manage scientific research programs which generate the best scientific data available for understanding, managing, and conserving the region's living marine resources and the environmental quality essential for their existence.

With a staff of approximately 400 men and women, the Alaska Fisheries Science Center conducts field and laboratory research to help conserve and manage the region's living marine resources in compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1996, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Center scientists compile and analyze broad databases on fishery, oceanography, marine mammal, and environmental research. These data are used to develop policies and strategies for fisheries management within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, monitor and assess the health of the region's marine mammal populations, and develop the scientific understanding and predictive methodologies needed to implement NOAA Fisheries' ecosystem approach to management. In addition to ongoing survey and assessment activities, the AFSC is engaged in cutting-edge research on emerging issues such as global warming and the loss of sea ice in the Bering Sea.

The primary responsibilities of the Center are to provide scientific data and analysis and technical advice to the NMFS Alaska Regional Office, North Pacific Fishery Management Council, state of Alaska, Alaskan coastal subsistence communities, and U.S. representatives participating in international fishery and marine mammal negotiations, as well as the fishing industry and its constituents. The Center also coordinates fisheries and marine mammal research with other Federal and state agencies, academic institutions, and foreign nations.