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
Fishing Applications and Forms
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.
Reporting Marine Mammals in Distress
The Marine Mammal Stranding Network is composed of government wildlife and fisheries agencies, veterinary clinics, Alaska Native organizations, and academic institutions who respond to or provide professional advice on handling strandings, and collect and compile data on strandings. If you see injured, entangled or dead whales, seals or sea lions in the water or on the beach, call the statewide 24-hour Stranding Hotline: (877) 925-7773.
Essential Fish Habitat
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.
Subsistence Halibut Fishing
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.
The following reports include the results of ongoing research surveys to learn more about Steller Sea Lion abundance, movements, vital rates, diet and foraging behavior. Aerial Survey of Steller Sea Lions in Alaska, June
Commercial Fishing View map Download data (.zip) View metadata Recreational Fishing View map Download data (.zip) View metadata Subsistence Fishing View map Download data (.zip) View metadata
The Alaska Climate Integrated Modeling project (ACLIM) represents a comprehensive effort by NOAA Fisheries and partners to describe and project responses of the Bering Sea ecosystem – both the physical environment and human communities -- to
Growing slowly and reproducing late in a long life is an evolutionary strategy that helped rockfish survive environmental changes over thousands of years. It also makes them more vulnerable to overfishing. Careful management based on accurate scientific