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NOAA Fisheries: Celebrating 150 Years of Service

June 28, 2021

We’re celebrating 150 years of scientific research, resource management, and the protection and conservation of marine life.

The first U.S. fish commissioner Spencer Baird and colleagues conducting research in Little Harbor, Massachusetts. First U.S. Fish Commissioner Spencer Baird (on shore, at right) and colleagues seining in Little Harbor, Woods Hole, circa 1875. Credit: NOAA Fisheries/NEFSC Historical Collection.

At NOAA Fisheries, we’ve been working for the past 150 years to carry out our mission: supporting sustainable fisheries and safe sources of seafood, protecting marine life, and conserving healthy ecosystems.

Ocean resources are a significant part of our American way of life. Our country is surrounded by more than 3 million square miles of open ocean and more than 95,000 miles of coastline. U.S. fisheries are some of the world's largest and most sustainable, generating $244 billion in sales and supporting more than 1.7 million jobs. 

Over the last four decades, we’ve made significant progress toward stabilizing fish populations and getting them on the path to recovery. We are also responsible for more than 165 endangered and threatened marine species, from whales to salmon to corals, and for developing plans that guide their recovery. In the last 30 years, we’ve restored more than 150,000 acres of habitat, allowing fish and other marine life to thrive—while also creating jobs and protecting coastal communities from storms.

Watch this video to learn more about the past, present, and future of NOAA Fisheries.