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NOAA Fisheries is a steward for the ocean’s resources. The organization provides services to American fisheries and consumers, including sustainable fisheries, safe seafood sources, recovery and conservation resources, and strategies for preserving healthy ecosystems. NOAA Fisheries is among the world’s largest and most sustainable fishery management bodies. In fact, the organization says that seafood sourced from U.S. federally managed fisheries is inherently sustainable precisely because of the NOAA Fisheries’ work. The organization partners with Regional Fishery Management Councils across the country to help set catch limits, predict the status of fish stocks, reduce bycatch, and ensure federal sustainability compliance.
In the simplest terms, NOAA Fisheries is the organization responsible for ensuring fish caught in American waters are of high quality and sustainably sourced.
NOAA Fisheries Mission
Also known as the National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA Fisheries has a mission of keeping American-caught fish sustainable and of high quality. The organization understands that both marine ecosystems and coastal communities, as well as private and public industry, rely heavily on the health of marine species. NOAA Fisheries works under several federal acts, including the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Endangered Species Act, and the Magnuson-Stevens Act, to preserve ocean ecosystems while sustainably sourcing the fish that keep coastal communities and industries financially secure.
The NOAA Fisheries’ Work
NOAA Fisheries’ work is multifaceted. The organization has five regional offices, six science centers, and more than 20 laboratories around the United States and its territories. These various branches work to set sustainability standards, understand the ocean ecosystem, and educate both individuals and organizations on the importance of marine health.
Individual projects are carried out by regional offices. In the Alaska region, for example, the NOAA Fisheries is working to preserve beluga whale habitats, northern fur seal populations, and deep-sea corals. In New England, the organization is prioritizing limiting marine mammal unusual mortality (i.e. whale deaths as a result of human activity), climate change, and Atlantic salmon preservation. On the West Coast, the NOAA Fisheries is working to bolster salmon recovery and prevent whale entanglements. The full list of the organization’s regional projects is both robust and comprehensive.
The NOAA Fisheries also provides important resources for fishing, including information about recreational fishing, subsistence fishing, and commercial operations.
How the NOAA Fisheries Can Help You
Importantly, the NOAA Fisheries tracks 474 stocks or stock complexes in over 46 fishery management plans. This helps to prevent overfishing, which in turn provides safe conditions for both fish and workers. Without the regulations and standards set by the NOAA Fisheries, commercial fish products would not be sustainably sourced or of an especially high quality. If you enjoy high-quality American salmon or lobster, or if you can appreciate ocean health and sustainability, you have the National Marine Fisheries Service to thank.