NOAA Fisheries

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NOAA Fisheries, also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service, is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the Department of Commerce. We have five regional offices, six science centers, and more than 20 laboratories around the United States and U.S. territories, and we work with partners across the nation.

NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the stewardship of the nation's ocean resources and their habitat. We provide vital services for the nation: productive and sustainable fisheries, safe sources of seafood, the recovery and conservation of protected resources, and healthy ecosystems—all backed by sound science and an ecosystem-based approach to management.

U.S. fisheries are among the world’s largest and most sustainable. Seafood harvested from U.S. federally managed fisheries is inherently sustainable as a result of the U.S. fishery management process. Using the Magnuson-Stevens Act as the guide, NOAA Fisheries works in partnership with Regional Fishery Management Councils to assess and predict the status of fish stocks, set catch limits, ensure compliance with fisheries regulations, and reduce bycatch.

The resilience of our marine ecosystems and coastal communities depend on healthy marine species, including protected species such as whales, sea turtles, corals, and salmon. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, NOAA Fisheries works to recover protected marine species while allowing economic and recreational opportunities.


Salmon and other ecologically and economically important migrating fish species, such as shad and sturgeon, need access to freshwater habitat for spawning and rearing their young. Some fish need to swim thousands of miles through oceans and rivers to reach their destination.

Hydropower installations, such as dams, can adversely impact fish habitat and marine resources. NOAA Fisheries works with other federal agencies and hydropower plant developers to avoid or reduce impacts to fish and their habitat.

NOAA Fisheries works with FERC and hydropower developers to safeguard these species and their habitat by providing protection and fish passage measures in the FERC licensing process. Because FERC licenses have a term of 30 to 50 years, this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to protect and improve many miles of habitat degraded by changes in water flow and quality from hydropower projects.

National Marine Fisheries Service is an organization based in Silver Spring, Maryland: Energy Resources.


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