Along the West Coast and in the watersheds of Washington, Oregon, California, and Idaho, we manage commercial and recreational fisheries for more than 100 species of salmon, groundfish, coastal pelagics such as anchovy and sardine, and highly migratory species such as billfish, sharks, and tunas. We work to recover and conserve threatened and endangered marine species and to enable domestic aquaculture production. The West Coast region represents NOAA Fisheries in international venues and domestically with federal, tribal, and state agencies as well as fishing and aquaculture industries.
Marine mammals are found worldwide, including whales, dolphins, sea lions, and sea otters. On the West Coast of the U.S. there are more than 30 species of marine mammals. It's our responsibility to protect them throughout our region and within U.S. waters. Many of these animals are affected by human impacts, fisheries, and environmental changes. Several innovative programs are working to restore threatened and endangered marine animals.
Learn more about West Coast marine mammals
Pacific salmon and steelhead fisheries provide for commercial, recreational, and tribal harvest on the West Coast. Their broad geographic range and migration route, from the inland tributaries of the Pacific Northwest and California to the offshore areas of Alaska and Canada, requires comprehensive management. NOAA Fisheries works in cooperation with federal, state, tribal, and Canadian officials to manage these fisheries.
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Hatcheries are a tool to help support wild stocks and provide fish for harvest, so long as hatchery fish are managed in the context of our overall goals for threatened or endangered fish. Hatchery intervention can also help avert salmon and steelhead extinction—at least in the short-term. Hatchery best management practices bring together conservation goals with the implementation of treaty Indian fishing rights and other applicable laws and policies.
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NOAA Fisheries and the Pacific Fishery Management Council oversee the management of more than 90 species of groundfish in U.S. federal waters. These stocks are harvested in both commercial and recreational fisheries off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. While the trawl fishery harvests most groundfish, they can also be caught with troll, longline, hook and line, pots, gillnets, and other gear.
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The survival of protected species requires healthy habitat. The Endangered Species Act and Magnuson-Stevens Act direct NOAA Fisheries to protect, conserve, and restore freshwater and marine habitats. Quality habitat provides food, protection, and safe areas for spawning and rearing. Degradation of habitat can limit species' survival and undermine the integrity of the ecosystem.
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Aquaculture contributes to sustainable seafood, working waterfronts, and restoration and enhancement of marine species. NOAA has a multi-faceted role in aquaculture, from supporting science and research to federal policy-making and regulation. We work closely with regional tribes, states , the aquaculture industry and non-governmental organizations, to improve and expand opportunities to grow marine products, such as fish and shellfish.
Learn more about West Coast aquaculture