Population assessments are a key component of marine resource management. These assessments allow us to evaluate and report the status of managed fisheries, marine mammals, and endangered/threatened species under the authorities of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the Endangered Species Act.
To conduct population assessments, our scientists:
The assessment process uses current data and advanced analytical techniques in an effort to provide the best scientific information available for conservation and management decisions.
Fish stock assessments often use catch, abundance, and biology data. These data feed into mathematical models that produce estimates of the fishery management factors needed for managers to make decisions about how to best regulate a fishery.
Scientific review groups advise NOAA Fisheries and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on the status of marine mammal stocks within three areas: Alaska, the Atlantic (including the Gulf of Mexico), and the Pacific.
Stock assessments measure the impact of fishing on fish and shellfish stocks. Assessments also project harvest levels to maximize the number of fish that can be caught every year while preventing overfishing, protecting the marine ecosystem, and—where necessary—rebuilding depleted stocks.
Learn more about fish stock assessments
These reports provide resource managers with information needed to manage marine mammal stocks protected under Marine Mammal Protection Act. These reports contain valuable information about geographic range, population size and trends, productivity rates, and estimates of mortality to design and implement appropriate conservation measures.
Learn more about marine mammal assessments
These assessments provide the foundation for evaluating the status of—and threats to—endangered marine mammals, fish, and sea turtles managed by NOAA Fisheries under the Endangered Species Act. Endangered species assessments include synthesis and analysis of scientific information on a species’ or stock’s population structure, life history characteristics, abundance, and threats—particularly those caused by human activities.
Learn more about endangered species assessments
Our scientists use a varitey of innovative technologies as they collect data and information to better understand the science behind healthy ecosystems and marine life.