|Jurisdiction||United States Department of Commerce|
|Headquarters|| Silver Spring, Maryland, US|
|Annual budget||US$1.027 billion (2019)|
|Parent agency||National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration|
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), informally known as NOAA Fisheries, is the United States federal agency responsible for the stewardship of national marine resources. The agency conserves and manages fisheries to promote sustainability and prevent lost economic potential associated with overfishing, declining species, and degraded habitats.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is a United States federal agency, informally known as NOAA Fisheries. 200 nautical miles (230 miles; 370 kilometres) from the coastline. NOAA oversees the NMFS.A division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), which is in the cabinet-level Department of Commerce, NMFS is responsible for the stewardship and management of the nation's living marine resources and their habitats within the United States' exclusive economic zone, which extends seaward
Using the tools provided by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, the NMFS assesses and predicts the status of fish stocks, ensures compliance with fisheries regulations, and works to end wasteful fishing practices. Under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act, the agency also monitors recovering protected marine species, such as wild salmon, whales, and sea turtles.
With the help of the six regional science centers, eight regional fisheries management councils, [ citation needed ]the coastal states and territories, and three interstate fisheries management commissions, NMFS conserves and manages marine fisheries to promote sustainability and to prevent lost economic potential associated with overfishing, declining species, and degraded habitats. While the coastal states and territories generally have authority to manage fisheries within near-shore state waters, the NMFS has the primary responsibility to conserve and manage marine fisheries in the U.S. exclusive economic zone beyond state waters. The agency also attempts to balance competing public needs for the natural resources under its management.
The NMFS also serves as a federal law enforcement agency, working closely with state enforcement agencies, the United States Coast Guard, and foreign enforcement authorities. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement is based in Silver Spring, Maryland.[ citation needed ]
The NMFS regulatory program is one of the most active in the federal government, with hundreds of regulations published annually in the Federal Register . Most regulations are published to conserve marine fisheries under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; other regulations are published under the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act. The NMFS also regulates fisheries pursuant to decisions of "regional fishery management organizations" (RFMOs)(RFMOs) and other RFMOs to which the U.S. is a party, such as the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission, the Agreement on the International Dolphin Conservation Program, the International Pacific Halibut Commission, etc.
In 2007, the NMFS issued regulations to protect endangered whales from fatal fishing-gear entanglements after environmental groups sued to force action on the rules, which were proposed in early 2005. The rules were enacted to specifically protect the North Atlantic right whale, of which about only 350 remain. Marine-gear entanglements and ship strikes are the top human causes of right whale deaths. On July 1, the shipping lanes in and out of Boston Harbor were rotated to avoid an area with a high concentration of the right whales.In the fiscal year 2017, the Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Program of NOAA's NMFS, Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, Protected Resources Division, carried out the mandates of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) and the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and was charged with protecting the whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea turtles that occur within the greater Atlantic region. This program currently includes marine mammal health and stranding response, large whale disentanglement, and sea turtle stranding and disentanglement. To implement this program, NMFS established several networks of volunteer organizations that it authorizes to respond to stranded marine mammals and sea turtles and entangled large whales and sea turtles. NMFS seeks the submission of proposals addressing Marine Animal Entanglement Response in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
The eight domestic regional fisheries management councils make binding regulations for federal waters off various parts of the U.S. coast:
The National Marine Fisheries Service operates six fisheries science centers covering marine fisheries conducted by the United States. The science centers correspond roughly to the administrative division of fisheries management into five regions, with the west coast utilizing two fisheries science centers.
The Northeast Fisheries Science Center is headquartered in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. It operates laboratories at five other locations, and an additional marine field station.Its primary mission is the management of fisheries on the Northeast shelf. However, it also oversees the operation of the National Systematics Lab, in conjunction with the Smithsonian Institution. The Northeast Fisheries Science Center also operates the Woods Hole Science Aquarium in conjunction with the Marine Biological Laboratory.
The NMFS maintains the Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Science Centers, both located in Seattle. The Alaska Fisheries Science Center is located on the grounds of the now-closed Naval Station Puget Sound. The Northwest Fisheries Science Center is located adjacent to the University of Washington. This site is also home to the Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Science Center Library, founded in 1931. As of 2011, this library contained 16,000 books and subscribed to 250 periodicals. Its subject interests include aquatic science, biochemistry, fisheries biology, fisheries management, food science, and marine science.
The Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center is headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii, on the campus of the University of Hawaii at Monoa.It operates several facilities, including facilities for NOAA ships at Ford Island.
The Southeast Fisheries Science Center is headquartered in Miami, Florida, and monitors marine fisheries in the American Southeast, including Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. It additionally operates five labs, some of which operate multiple facilities.
The Southwest Fisheries Science Center, headquartered in La Jolla, California, monitors and advises fisheries in NOAA's Southwest region. It operates facilities on the campus of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.In 2013, a large facility on La Jolla Shores Drive was built by the architects Gould Evans, replacing an older building that was threatened by coastal erosion. (Although the original architects, 50 years earlier, had been informed that they were building on a "block-glide landslide," they received exemption "from local building code requirements for a preconstruction engineering geology study because it was a U.S. government complex." A 1979 book on coastal erosion reported that the building was "disastrously located. The ‘Tuna Hilton’ rests partially on a piece of bluff known as a slump block. Designers say the building is specially articulated so that it should stay intact as the bluff falls from underneath its seaward end." )
The NMFS traces its ancestry to the United States government′s oldest conservation agency, the United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries, which was established in 1871 because of a growing awareness in the United States of the depletion of fish stocks in the Atlantic Ocean off the United States East Coast. Commonly referred to as the United States Fish Commission, the agency studied and managed live ocean resources. In 1903, when the United States Department of Commerce and Labor was created, the commission came under the authority of the new department and was reorganized as the United States Bureau of Fisheries. In 1913, when the Department of Commerce and Labor was split into the United States Department of Commerce and United States Department of Labor, the Bureau of Fisheries came under the control of the Department of Commerce. In 1939, the bureau moved to the United States Department of the Interior.
In 1940, the Bureau of Fisheries merged with the Bureau of Biological Survey to create the new Fish and Wildlife Service, still under the Department of the Interior. In 1956, the Fish and Wildlife Service underwent a reorganization and became the United States Fish and Wildlife Service. The 1956 reorganization also established under the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service′s authority the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, which focused on the commercial exploitation of fisheries, and the Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, which focused on recreational fishing.
In 1970, President Richard Nixon transferred the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries and almost all its functions from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to the Department of Commerce, and simultaneous with its transfer, the office was renamed the National Marine Fisheries Service. It was placed under the control of NOAA, which was created as a component of the Department of Commerce on 3 October 1970 primarily through a reorganization of the Environmental Science Services Administration, which NOAA replaced.
The NMFS received the authority to conserve ocean wildlife through the passage of the Marine Mammal Protection Act in 1972 and the Endangered Species Act in 1973.In 1976, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, commonly referred to as the Magnuson–Stevens Act, gave the NMFS the authority to manage marine fish stocks, creating eight regional fisheries management councils to oversee fisheries, and the Sustainable Fisheries Act of 1996 amended the 1976 legislation by making changes to authorize new ways of replenishing depleted fish stocks. In 2007, President George W. Bush signed into law the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006, which updated the Magnuson–Stevens Act with deadlines to end overfishing, increased use of market-based management tools, the creation of a national saltwater angler registry, and an emphasis on ecosystem approaches to management.
In 2016, the NMFS caused the death of the L95 killer whale of the critically endangered southern resident population. This population travels along the coast of both the United States and Canada, and Canada does not use barbed satellite tags to track them because the method is invasive, but the NMFS made the unilateral decision to tag southern resident orcas.The L95 whale died 5 weeks after being shot with a barbed satellite tag and the Canadian necropsy concluded the barb caused a lethal fungal infection. Prior to L95's tagging, Center for Whale Research Senior Scientist Ken Balcomb documented tag detachment issues and was assured by the NMFS that these issues were "fixed", but the tag on L95 broke off and pieces of the barb remained in L95 until death. Although Balcomb documented infections where barbs had failed to detach on killer whales and presented his findings to the NMFS, the NMFS site read years later in October 2016, "Our experience with previous occurrences of tag attachment failure has shown no impact to the whale’s general health." Though ocean water could enter the wound and whale skin is not sterile, the NMFS stated the fungal infection may have occurred because the barbed tag was dropped in the ocean and was sterilized with only alcohol, rather than both alcohol and bleach, prior to being aimed again at the orca. Two other members of the southern resident orca population disappeared within weeks of being tagged by the NMFS and are presumed dead, although the cause of death, if dead, is uncertain as the bodies were not recovered. Wildlife biologist Brad Hanson supervised the NMFS's killer-whale tagging program. He was not removed from his position following the scandal.
The United States Fish and Wildlife Service is an agency of the US federal government within the US Department of the Interior dedicated to the management of fish, wildlife, and natural habitats. The mission of the agency is "working with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people."
The albacore, known also as the longfin tuna, is a species of tuna of the order Perciformes. It is found in temperate and tropical waters across the globe in the epipelagic and mesopelagic zones. There are six distinct stocks known globally in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans, as well as the Mediterranean Sea. The albacore has an elongate, fusiform body with a conical snout, large eyes, and remarkably long pectoral fins. Its body is a deep blue dorsally and shades of silvery white ventrally. Individuals can reach up to 1.4 m (4.6 ft) in length.
Dall's porpoise is a species of porpoise endemic to the North Pacific. It is the largest of porpoises and the only member of the genus Phocoenoides. The species is named after American naturalist W. H. Dall.
The northern right whale dolphin is a small, slender and finless species of cetacean found in cold/ temperate waters of the North Pacific Ocean. It is one of two species of right whale dolphins.
The Magnuson–Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSFCMA), commonly referred to as the Magnuson–Stevens Act (MSA), is the legal provision for promoting optimal exploitation of U.S. coastal fisheries. Enacted in 1976, it has since been amended in line with sustainability policy.
Cetacean bycatch is the incidental capture of non-target cetacean species such as dolphins, porpoises, and whales by fisheries. Bycatch can be caused by entanglement in fishing nets and lines, or direct capture by hooks or in trawl nets.
Marine conservation, also known as ocean conservation, refers to the study of marine plants and animal resources and ecosystem functions. It is the protection and preservation of ecosystems in oceans and seas through planned management in order to prevent the exploitation of these resources. Marine conservation is driven by the manifested negative effects being seen in our environment such as species loss, habitat degradation and changes in ecosystem functions and focuses on limiting human-caused damage to marine ecosystems, restoring damaged marine ecosystems, and preserving vulnerable species and ecosystems of the marine life. Marine conservation is a relatively new discipline which has developed as a response to biological issues such as extinction and marine habitats change.
The United States Fish Commission, formally known as the United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries, was an agency of the United States government created in 1871 to investigate, promote, and preserve the fisheries of the United States. In 1903, it was reorganized as the United States Bureau of Fisheries, which operated until 1940. In 1940, the Bureau of Fisheries became part of the newly created Fish and Wildlife Service, under the United States Department of the Interior.
The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) was the first act of the United States Congress to call specifically for an ecosystem approach to wildlife management.
NOAA Ship John N. Cobb was a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel in commission from 1970 to 2008. She was named for John Nathan Cobb and was the oldest commissioned ship in the NOAA fleet when she was decommissioned, having previously served in the United States Department of the Interior′s Fish and Wildlife Service from 1950 to 1956 and in the United States Fish and Wildlife Service′s Bureau of Commercial Fisheries from 1956 to 1970 as R/V John N. Cobb.
Ocean Conservancy is a nonprofit environmental advocacy group based in Washington, D.C., United States. The organization helps formulate ocean policy at the federal and state government levels based on peer reviewed science.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement is a federal police part of the National Marine Fisheries Service of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, headquartered in Silver Spring, Maryland. The leadership consists of Director James Landon, Deputy Director Logan Gregory, Assistant Director Todd Dubois, and Budget Chief Milena Seelig.
The eight U.S. regional fishery management councils are the primary forums for developing conservation and management measures for U.S. marine fisheries. The regional councils recommend management measures for fisheries in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ); which are subject to approval and implemented by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). The councils were established by the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1976. In 1996, revisions to the laws governing the regional fishery management councils were made by the Sustainable Fisheries Act, which includes provisions to reduce bycatch, consider the effects of management decisions on communities, and protect essential fish habitats.
As with other countries, the 200 nautical miles (370 km) exclusive economic zone (EEZ) off the coast of the United States gives its fishing industry special fishing rights. It covers 11.4 million square kilometres, which is the second largest zone in the world, exceeding the land area of the United States.
The southern resident killer whales (SRKW) represent the smallest of four resident communities within the Northeastern portion of North America Pacific Ocean. It is the only killer whale population listed under the Endangered Species Act by the National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The National Marine Fisheries Service listed this distinct population segment of killer whales as endangered, effective in 2005, under the Endangered Species Act. In Canada the SRKW are listed as endangered on Species at Risk Act Schedule 1. They are commonly referred to as the "orcas of the Salish Sea", "fish-eating orcas", or the "SRKW" population. Unlike other resident communities, the SRKW is only one clan (J) that consists of 3 pods with several matrilines within each pod. As of August 2019 there are only 73 individuals, making their population at a 30 year low. The world's oldest known killer whale, Granny or J2, had belonged to and led the J pod of the SRKW population. As of October 2016, she is missing and presumed deceased. J2 was estimated to have been born around 1911, which means she would have been 105 years old at the time of her death, and the oldest known Orca to date. On July 24, 2018 the first calf born in three years died after being alive for only half an hour.
Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) was defined by the U.S. Congress in the 1996 amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, or Magnuson-Stevens Act, as "those waters and substrate necessary to fish for spawning, breeding, feeding or growth to maturity." Implementing regulations clarified that waters include all aquatic areas and their physical, chemical, and biological properties; substrate includes the associated biological communities that make these areas suitable for fish habitats, and the description and identification of EFH should include habitats used at any time during the species' life cycle. EFH includes all types of aquatic habitat, such as wetlands, coral reefs, sand, seagrasses, and rivers.
The Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council (WPRFMC) is one of eight regional councils established under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (MSA) in 1976 to manage offshore fisheries. The WPRFMC's jurisdiction includes the US exclusive economic zone (EEZ) waters around the State of Hawaii; US Territories of American Samoa and Guam; the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI); and the US Pacific remote island areas of Johnston, Midway, Palmyra and Wake Atolls; Baker, Howland and Jarvis Islands; and Kingman Reef. This area of nearly 1.5 million square miles is the size of the continental United States and constitutes about half of the entire US EEZ. It spans both sides of the equator and both sides of the dateline. The WPRFMC also manages domestic fisheries based in the US Pacific Islands that operate on the high seas.
The loggerhead sea turtle, is protected under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) of 1973. It was originally listed as a threatened species on July 28, 1978. The loggerhead turtle is the most prolific species of sea turtle in U.S. coastal waters.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) established a rule in 2008 to implement vessel speed restrictions of 10 knots or less on ships 65 ft (20 m) or longer in various locations along the East Coast of the United States. The purpose of the regulations was to reduce the probability of deaths and injuries to endangered North Atlantic right whales due to collisions with ships. The rule was enacted December 9, 2008.
The Marine Policy of the Barack Obama administration comprises several significant environmental policy decisions for the oceans made during his two terms in office from 2009 to 2017. By executive action, President Obama increased fourfold the amount of protected marine space in waters under United States control, setting an important precedent for global ocean conservation. Using the U.S. president's authority under the Antiquities Act of 1906, he expanded to 200 nautical miles the seaward limits of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument in Hawaiʻi and the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument around the U.S. island possessions in the Central Pacific. In the Atlantic, President Obama created the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument, the first marine monument in the U.S. exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Atlantic. Early in his presidency, on July 19, 2010, Obama signed Executive Order 13547, entitled "Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes." This order created a policy framework for integrated marine spatial planning at the sub-national level as well as a national ocean council, a cabinet-level forum to coordinate policy under the nation's domestic and international rules for the oceans. In 2014, the Obama administration inaugurated the "Our Ocean" series of annual conferences to build and promote international cooperation to protect the world's oceans. Members of the Obama cabinet testified on behalf of U.S. accession to the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea, to strengthen international norms respecting the freedom of navigation and for the sustainable development and use of marine resources. At the end of his second term in office, President Obama approved rules recommended by the National Ocean Council to combat illegal fishing on the high seas and seafood mislabeling through import traceability and catch certification requirements.
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