Fisheries Management Activities

NOAA strives to adopt an ecosystem-based approach throughout its broad ocean and coastal stewardship, science, and service programs. The goal of ecosystem-based management is to maintain ecosystems in a healthy, productive, and resilient condition so they can provide the services humans want and need.  Many programs throughout NOAA seek to include ecosystem-based management techniques to management of fisheries and other living marine resources. NOAA refers to the ecosystem-based approach to management that is focused on the fisheries sector as ecosystem-based fisheries management (EBFM). EBFM is a new way of looking at the management of living marine resources. The traditional management strategy for fisheries and other living marine resources is to focus on one. For more information see the EBFM site.



Office of Sustainable Fisheries

The Office of Sustainable Fisheries (OSF)  works to manage fish stocks important to commercial, recreational, and subsistence fisheries through guidance and support of Regional Offices and Regional Fishery Management Councils. OSF also facilitates effective communication between and among constituents and supports a variety of seafood safety measures.

Office of Sustainable Fisheries Website

Essential Fish Habitat

Fish require healthy surroundings to survive and reproduce. Essential fish habitat includes all types of aquatic habitat (wetlands, coral reefs, seagrasses, rivers) where fish spawn, breed, feed, or grow to maturity.  Impacts from certain fishing practices as well as coastal and marine development threaten to alter, damage, or destroy these habitats. NOAA, the regional fishery management councils, and other federal agencies work together to minimize these threats. In addition, many projects conducted by NOAA’s Restoration Center focus on restoring essential fish habitat.

Essential Fish Habitat Website

Fisheries Stock Assessments

NOAA Fisheries’ stock assessments are key to marine resource management. They provide high-quality science information to managers to answer important questions such as:
  • What is the current status of a stock relative to established targets? (e.g. Is the stock experiencing over fishing or is it over fished? Is a marine mammal stock depleted?)
  • How much catch is sustainable while maintaining a healthy stock?
  • If a stock becomes depleted, what steps are required to rebuild it to healthy abundance levels?

Stock Assessments Webpage

Fisheries Habitat Science and Assessment Program

Habitat science is the study of relationships among species and their environment. Habitat science and assessments provide essential scientific advice to resource managers on the current status and future trends of marine habitats utilized by living marine resources. Habitat information is needed for habitat management and restoration, stock assessments, ecosystem-based management, and in almost every other NOAA and NOAA Fisheries program.

Habitat Science Website

Office of Aquaculture

The Office of Aquaculture  fosters marine aquaculture that will create employment and business opportunities in coastal communities; provide safe, sustainable seafood; and complement NOAA’s comprehensive strategy for maintaining healthy and productive marine populations, species, and ecosystems and vibrant coastal communities.  The Office of Aquaculture integrates and coordinates the agency’s aquaculture policies, research, outreach, and international obligations.

Aquaculture Program Website

This represents a sample of the NOAA programs employing EBM for fisheries management, it is not comprehensive. If there are programs you feel should be included please contact us.