Alaska's dynamic, often ice-covered seas are home to a remarkable diversity of life, crustaceans, fish, seals, sea lions, porpoises, whales, and more. Few places in the world offer such beauty and bounty. This region of nearly 1.5 million square miles includes waters in the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, Aleutian Islands, Chukchi Sea, and Beaufort Sea.
Alaska produces more than half the fish caught in waters off the coast of the United States, with an average wholesale value of nearly $4.5 billion a year. Alaska's fisheries are among the best-managed, most sustainable in the world. Alaska resources provide jobs and a stable food supply for the nation, while supporting a traditional way of life for Alaska Native and local fishing communities.
Together, NOAA Fisheries Alaska Regional Office and Alaska Fisheries Science Center help ensure the sustainability of these marine resources for generations.
Alaska's coastal communities depend on healthy marine resources to support commercial and recreational fisheries, tourism, and the Alaskan way of life. Our mission at NOAA Fisheries Alaska Regional Office is the science-based stewardship of Alaska’s marine resources and their habitats in the Gulf of Alaska, eastern Bering Sea, and Arctic oceans. We are responsible for supporting sustainable fisheries, recovering and conserving protected species, such as whales and seals, and promoting healthy ecosystems and resilient Alaska coastal communities.
Sport Halibut Fishing in Alaska
Alaska's 40,544 miles of coastline represents 40% of the U.S. total and provides endless recreational fishing opportunities in both fresh and marine waters. One of the major sport fish species in Alaska is the Pacific halibut.
Alaska Fishing Applications and Forms
Whether you are looking for a federal fisheries permit, a ceremonial permit, or a replacement for a certificate, permit, or card for fishing in Alaska, be sure to have the appropriate form or application.
Viewing Marine Mammals
Alaska is among the best destinations worldwide to view marine mammals, including several whale species, sea lions, and seals. These animals need time and space to eat, sleep, socialize, and care for their young. NOAA Fisheries helps ensure marine mammals are not being put at risk by promoting responsible wildlife viewing in Alaska.
Essential Fish Habitat in Alaska
One of the greatest long-term threats to the viability of commercial and recreational fisheries is the continuing loss of marine, estuarine, and other aquatic habitats. We work to protect and conserve marine habitats that provide food, protection, and safe areas for spawning and rearing marine life. We also identify actions to encourage conservation and enhancement of essential fish habitat.
Fly the Alaska Coastline with ShoreZone
Every inch of Alaska coastline has been imaged and mapped by the ShoreZone program. More than 40 partners have contributed to the Alaska ShoreZone program, offering anyone the opportunity to fly the coastline by watching aerial video online.
Funding and Financial Assistance
We foster initiative and innovation by offering a broad range of financial assistance and program partnership activities directed at supporting our core mission areas.
Our research supports sustainable management and conservation of Alaska marine species with economic and cultural benefits for the nation. Alaska waters support some of the most important commercial fisheries in the world; large and diverse populations of whales, seals, sea lions, and porpoises; and Alaska native hunting and fishing communities.
We study the health and size of marine animal populations and identify the key areas where these animals feed, breed, and grow. We monitor changes to Alaska ecosystems over time.
Alaska Research Surveys
Each year we conduct long-term field surveys from land, sea, and air using innovative technologies and methods to monitor the health of fish, shellfish, whales, seals, sea lions, porpoises and other marine life in Alaska. Over time we can detect trends in abundance and population health. We also monitor changes to habitats and the environment that can affect marine species.
Alaska Stock Assessments
A variety of data are input into computer models to estimate population size and trends for fish, crabs and marine mammals generating a stock assessment report. Research surveys provide biological, ecological and environmental data. Independent fishery observers collect information on commercial fisheries catches. We also compile socio-economic data on fishing communities.
Alaska Marine Mammal Research
Together with research partners we collect data from land, sea and air to learn more about whales, seals, and other marine mammals. We study the abundance and trends of these animals, along with their ecology and behavior. Our research results are used by resource managers and federal and tribal government partners to comply with U.S. laws to protect these species.
Ecosystem and Socio-Economic Research
Understanding the health and productivity of marine ecosystems is key to sustainable management. In the laboratory and in the field, our scientists monitor Alaska ecosystems to see how changes in the marine environment affect marine species.
Alaska Fisheries Observers
Trained observers collect information on fisheries catch, including species caught inadvertently (also known as bycatch). They also collect important biological data on fish and threatened and endangered species including Steller sea lions, killer whales, harbor porpoises, and seabirds such as the endangered short-tailed albatross. Scientists use observer-collected data for stock assessments and marine ecosystem research.
Alaska Habitat Research
The frigid waters of Alaska contain a remarkable number of diverse ocean habitats. Our research explores kelp forests, eelgrass meadows, deep-sea coral gardens, valleys and seamounts, the summits of the ocean. We study the places where Alaska marine species live.
Recent Science Blogs
Lion's mane jellyfish - (Cyanea capillata) Increases in populations of jellyfish in areas around the world have captured the attention of scientists in recent decades. Jellyfish populations in Alaskan waters have fluctuated dramatically in response...
A killer whale breaching. Killer whales are top predators in Alaska ecosystems. Resident killer whales in Alaska feed exclusively on fish, mainly salmon, while transient whales eat marine mammals and squid. Social groups, or pods, within these resident...
A rockfish nestles against the sponge Aphrocallistes vastus. Sponges from the Classes Calcarea, Hexactinellida and Demospongiae are broadly distributed on the continental shelf and slope throughout the Gulf of Alaska, Bering Sea, and along the...
Pacific cod and northern rockfish over a mix of living substrate composed of sponge and coral. Through our seafloor focused research, we are learning new information about the distribution, species association, ecology, and anthropogenic...