- Gray triggerfish
- Greater amberjack
- Ocean perch
- Sea Bass
- Turbot (Greenland)
Working with Anglers to Recover Threatened Puget Sound Rockfish
Did you know that some species of rockfish can live nearly 100 years? In the Puget Sound, yelloweye rockfish and canary rockfish take more than a decade to mature and reproduce. While that’s a fascinating scientific fact, it’s also part of the reason that rockfish populations in the Puget Sound have declined over the past few decades. These populations are now protected, and NOAA scientists are working with fishermen to identify genetic differences among distinct rockfish populations. These data will help identify more specifically where these populations live, which can inform boundaries for future management and recovery actions.
Florida Chef Wins 2014 Seafood Cook-Off
In early August, chefs from around the country sharpened their knives and created some unique and tasty dishes featuring U.S. domestic seafood.
Restoring River Herring to Improve Essential Fish Habitat for New England Groundfish
Small fish play a big role in the marine food chain. River herring in the Northeast United States, while a small fish, are an important prey species for many commercial and recreational fish species, and like all fish, they require healthy habitat to survive and reproduce. That’s why NOAA Fisheries scientists are working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the state of Maine to enhance fish passage and improve habitat quality for river herring. As a result, researchers hope an increase in the river herring population in the Gulf of Maine will have a positive impact on stock rebuilding and sustainability of important New England groundfish fish stocks.
Healthy Habitat: Key to U.S. Seafood and Fisheries
Habitat is the foundation for the commercial and recreational saltwater fishing industries that provided more than 1.7 million jobs and over $199 billion dollars in economic activity in 2012. Learn more about the important role healthy habitat serves as the foundation of America’s seafood and fisheries and what NOAA is doing to conserve habitat to rebuild fisheries.
Probiotics on the Shellfish Farm
Many people use probiotics on a daily basis to stay healthy. But, did you know that probiotics can be great for marine species as well? Already used in lobster and shrimp farming, scientists are currently developing new probiotics for use in oyster farms. Because antibiotics are not allowed in U.S. aquaculture due to concerns about antibiotic resistant pathogens, probiotics are a good option to keep farmed organisms healthy. The hope is that probiotics could help more oyster larvae survive the transition from the free swimming stage to the settled stage. This summer NOAA’s Aquaculture Lab in Connecticut is testing the new probiotics, which could potentially be on the market in 2 to 3 years.
Canyons, Corals, and Sustainable Fishing in the Bering Sea
Ever heard of the Pribilof Canyon? Maybe not, but this undersea canyon in the Bering Sea off Alaska is well known to scientists. With its high biodiversity, the canyon is home to a number of valuable fisheries like salmon, king crab, and Alaska pollock. There are concerns about the impacts of fishing on deep sea corals in the area and how that could threaten the health of this important ecosystem. NOAA Fisheries scientists and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council are working together to determine how to best protect this sensitive habitat to ensure a healthy future for the ecosystem.
Seeing Puget Sound Through a New Lens: Underwater Exploration Supports Rockfish Recovery Efforts
How can a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) help support rockfish populations on the West Coast? There are many species of rockfish, some of which are threatened or endangered. But they often resemble each other, making it difficult to protect the vulnerable populations. Scientists are using a ROV in Puget Sound to survey and estimate rockfish populations and collect information on the species’ range and habitat use. By studying the fish in the water rather than bringing them to the surface, the risk of harm is much less for these vulnerable species. Rockfish can live to be 100 years old, so scientists also hope the ROV will help determine age by measuring the length of individual rockfish. All this information will support future research and plans to protect and recover rockfish populations.
Report Documents Importance of Shallow-Water Bottom Habitats in the Gulf of Maine
When you walk along a sandy shoreline, you might not realize that you're strolling through a crucial habitat for marine species. A recent NOAA study in the Gulf of Maine sought to identify essential fish habitats and their importance in the life cycles of 16 local commercially caught fish and invertebrate species. Sand, gravel, salt marshes, eel grass, and algae ranked as some of the most important. These areas are used to lay eggs, to hide from predators and as nurseries for juveniles. A better understanding of where animals live can help fisheries scientists be more aware of threats to these key areas and how to best manage fisheries with habitat in mind.
Announcing Kenneth K. Chew Center for Shellfish Research and Restoration
What are we doing on the West Coast to restore shellfish populations? Native oyster populations in Puget Sound are at less than 4 percent of historic levels, and this significant decline affects the region's ecology and the cultural tradition of tribes who harvest shellfish for a living. NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center and Puget Sound Restoration Fund opened a new 1,400 square-foot shellfish hatchery, located at the Manchester Research Station. The new facility will expand NOAA's ability to culture native Olympia oysters and other marine life in Puget Sound, restore oyster habitat, and minimize impacts of ocean acidification.
Salmon Restoration and PIT Tags: Big Data from a Small Device
One of the biggest tools in salmon conservation is only about the size of a grain of rice. NOAA Fisheries scientists in the Pacific Northwest have designed a tiny tag that can be placed under the skin of a salmon. This Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tag then sends information to a reading antenna as salmon swim by, allowing scientists to track salmon movements and find spots where they have difficulty traveling from the rivers where they are born to the sea. Knowing where to target efforts to improve migration routes can be immensely helpful for the scientists.
NOAA-led researchers discover ocean acidity is dissolving shells of tiny snails off West Coast
What does ocean acidification mean for marine fish populations? A NOAA-led research team recently found evidence that the acidity of West Coast continental shelf waters is dissolving the shells of tiny, free-swimming marine snails. But what's the connection between these snails and marine fisheries? The snails and other similar organisms live near the bottom of the food chain and serve as important food sources for many marine fish, including pink salmon, mackerel, and herring. Maintaining a healthy ecosystem, including food sources, is critical to maintaining fish populations and supporting the coastal communities that rely on the seafood industry.
NOAA Reports Show Strong Continued Improvements
Two new NOAA reports show strong economic gains from fishing and continued improvement in fish stocks.
Jon Hare discusses climate’s impact on fisheries, new study to assess species vulnerability
How can climate change affect fisheries? Researchers from NOAA Fisheries and NOAA's Oceanic and Atmospheric Research Division are collaborating to find out. This team developed a new protocol for estimating the vulnerability of specific fish stocks to climate change, and recently, tested it on 79 species common in the Northeast United States. Better understanding the impacts of a changing climate on fish stocks is critical to fishery managers so they can continue to plan to prevent overfishing and rebuild stocks.
Ocean conditions drove recent Columbia River sockeye booms
How can ocean conditions impact the number of sockeye salmon returns to the Columbia River? Scientists at NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center are investigating. In the ocean, sockeye salmon feed on creatures lower on the food chain than some other salmon species. As ocean conditions improve, the food chain is nourished from the bottom up, more quickly benefiting sockeye salmon. Scientists are also looking at other factors—coastal upwelling, water temperatures, wind patterns, and improved habitat and dam passage—to determine what impact they have on sockeye salmon returns.
NCBO-funded Research on Invasive Catfish
Did you know that non-native species can impact a marine ecosystem? Blue and flathead catfish are an example in the Chesapeake Bay. Introduced as a recreational species from the 1960s to 1980s, the population and range of these catfish have increased dramatically since that time. As top predators in several river systems, they may be contributing to changes in the Chesapeake Bay ecosystem. Ongoing research funded by NOAA Fisheries is looking into the impacts of this species on the ecosystem and options for mitigating those impacts.
Scientists Study Ecosystem Effects on Fish Populations
Scientists seek to understand how physical and biological forces combine to drive fish productivity in the Gulf of Alaska.
MAFAC Sustainable Seafood Certification Recommendations
The topic of seafood certification has come up at many meetings of the Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC) over the past decade. Due to stakeholder requests and increasing public interest, in mid-2012, NOAA Fisheries asked MAFAC to explore the creation of a NOAA certification mark or other acknowledgement that could certify sustainability of domestic wild-caught and aquaculture fishery products. MAFAC agreed and organized a working group to investigate the topic and develop a recommendation.
Pollock Is Pollock
According to the American Fisheries Society, the scientific name for Alaska pollock has changed. But it will take several years for all the agencies that regulate trade in seafood products to update their nomenclature. In the meantime, it’s business as usual.
NOAA Fisheries Scientists Study Impacts of Climate Change
Climate change is already having a profound effect on life in the oceans. Marine species tend to be highly mobile, and many are moving quickly toward the poles to stay cool as average ocean temperatures rise. NOAA Fisheries scientists are working to understand the effects of climate change and ocean acidification to minimize the disruptions they cause, adapt to upcoming changes, and ensure that future generations can enjoy the benefits of healthy marine ecosystems. Learn more about some of the things we’re working on.
Stock Assessment Prioritization: Guiding Decisions on Which Fish Stocks to Assess
With so many different species making up our nation’s fisheries, how does NOAA Fisheries decide which stocks to assess each year? NOAA Fisheries is proposing a process for prioritization of stock assessments that would provide a standardized protocol for setting a target level and frequency for each stock assessment—an essential part of the fisheries management process. These targets, along with other factors, would help guide the regional decision-making process. Fishery management entities and the general public are welcome to provide input on this proposed process.
A Changing Climate in Fisheries Management
How will we manage fish populations as they move in response to climate change? NOAA Fisheries biologist John Manderson is working on one small piece of the puzzle.
Georges Bank Pilot Flatfish Survey Data Available
Collaboration led to a better understanding of the status of fish stocks. Just ask scientists at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center, who worked with fishermen and gear manufacturers on a recent flatfish survey designed to gain a better understanding of the current condition of flounder stocks. The survey was also intended to demonstrate how an industry-based, dedicated flatfish survey can enhance regional data collection and provide a better understanding of the costs to conduct this type of survey.
Climate & the Ultimate Pan-Fried Fish
How could a changing climate impact your favorite seafood? Researchers at The Ohio State University are currently studying the impact of climate change on fish in the Great Lakes. The research focuses primarily on the impacts of warming temperatures along with increases in extreme precipitation events and how changes in climate could potentially impact yellow perch—a local seafood favorite. Read on to learn how a changing climate might impact the seafood you like to eat.
Tagged Bluefin Tuna Recaptured After Sixteen Years at Large
By tagging fish for NOAA’s Cooperative Tagging Program, fishermen have contributed greatly to our scientific understanding of many valuable species.
Long Live the King
To ensure a sustainable fishery, scientists are studying how red king crabs respond to a changing environment.
Bite-Sized Food for Thought: Edible QR Codes
Harney Sushi, a restaurant in San Diego, is now serving up edible QR (quick response) codes along with their fish. Printed on rice paper with edible ink, the codes allow diners with smartphones to access information on the species they've ordered.
GETTING BACK TO LOCAL—YOUR FISHERMEN AND SEAFOOD
Bistro Owner Evan Mallett explains how purchasing local, sustainable seafood, both wild and farmed, has been a boon to his business. Bistro patrons get the freshest seafood and local fishermen are supported by their community.
Marine Aquaculture: A Promising Future
With aquaculture supplying half of the seafood eaten in the U.S. and abroad, commercial fishermen are starting to see aquaculture as a complement to their fishing activities and are exploring opportunities to get involved. New Hampshire Sea Grant and the University of New Hampshire have worked with the Portsmouth Commercial Fishing Association to grow steelhead trout, mussels, and sugar kelp on the Piscataqua River. Fishermen have the knowledge to pick up the work quickly, and they also bring a wealth of experience they can contribute to the project.
Feeds of the Future
Learn how researchers from NOAA Fisheries and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are developing plant-based feeds with the right balance of proteins to replace fishmeal in aquaculture operations.
International Assessment Shows Again North Atlantic Swordfish Stock Rebuilt
A new 2013 international stock assessment confirms North Atlantic swordfish remains sustainable; resulting in a higher catch levels in U.S. waters.
The Great American Surfclam
Surfclams support a multimillion-dollar fishery along the East Coast and are the most important commercial clam species harvested in our waters. Find out what makes the surfclam fishery a model of sustainability.
Efforts to Support and Streamline Seafood Trade
NOAA Fisheries' National Seafood Inspection Laboratory (NSIL) in Pascagoula, Mississippi, plays a critical role in streamlining seafood trade in and out of the United States. Find out how NOAA Fisheries supports seafood trade.
Protecting Our Seafood and Marine Resources
An essential part of our U.S. sustainable fisheries management approach is ensuring that commercial fishermen are knowledgeable of catch regulations and requirements, and that they are in compliance with these laws.
Behind the Scenes: A NOAA Fisheries Research Expedition
NOAA scientists conduct fish surveys all along U.S. coasts. The data from these surveys are used to set sustainable catch limits, ensuring we can enjoy a healthy supply of seafood now and in the future. Get a first hand look at a fish survey.
FINE COOKING ON THE HIGH SEAS
What does a chef aboard the NOAA research ship Oregon II feed a crew of 30 hungry seamen and scientists? Learn what seafood dishes chef Walter Coghlan likes to make the crew.
Rauch Testifies at Seafood Certification Hearing
NOAA Fisheries Acting Assistant Administrator Sam Rauch testified at the Senate Commerce Committee's hearing on "The Role of Certification in Rewarding Sustainable Fishing" on Sept. 24, which examined third-party sustainability certification of U.S. seafood and its impact on the seafood options in grocery stores and restaurants.
Watch the Video: Sustainable Seafood – A U.S. Success Story
The United States is a recognized global leader in responsibly managed fisheries and sustainable seafood. And you can help too! This video introduces consumers to FishWatch.gov, which provides easy-to-understand, science-based facts to help users make smart, sustainable seafood choices.
We've got a winner—2013 Great American Seafood Cook-off
And the winner is...learn more about the winning chef and dish of 2013 Great American Seafood Cook-off.
Teacher at Sea Sails on Alaska Pollock Survey
Melissa George, Biology and Zoology teacher at Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Indiana, sailed on the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson while scientists conducted the walley/pollock survey.
Water quality robot
Did you know that a robot can help measure water quality to determine whether your seafood is safe? A new state-of-the-art robotic sensing unit in the Puget Sound helps provide early warning of the presence of harmful algae and pathogens. The Environmental Sample Processor (ESP) can detect microorganisms in the water by their DNA, providing real-time water quality information to scientists. Public health officials and shellfish growers can then use these data to help ensure that local seafood is safe.
Seafood Fraud—Detection and Prevention
Learn how NOAA's Seafood Inspection Program works to help ensure that the seafood you buy is what the seller claims it is.
Crabs in the Lab: The Science Behind Alaska's Deadliest Catch
Located on Near Island in Kodiak, Alaska, the Kodiak Fisheries Research Center is often referred to as the "top crab lab in the country," and is the primary facility for the AFSC's Shellfish Assessment Program.
NOAA Fisheries to Host "Eat Local, Think Global" Symposium for U.S. Seafood
NOAA Fisheries is hosting a first-of-its-kind symposium, "Eat Local, Think Global: Making a Case for US Seafood", on July 16-17, in Oakland, California to explore how U.S. fisheries can gain overcome the myths and misperceptions and gain more recognition in domestic markets as sustainably managed.
NOAA Trade Monitoring Programs to go Electronic
As part of its mission to sustainably manage fishery resources, NOAA Fisheries implements international trade monitoring programs. With seafood imports representing about 90 percent of U.S. seafood supplies, these programs are crucial to stop illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishery products from entering the United States. NOAA Fisheries is currently working with U.S. Customs & Border Protection on the International Trade Data System, a single U.S. government system for electronic submission of trade data. The system will make it easier for industry and seafood suppliers to import/export seafood products and enhance our ability to ensure only legally caught seafood enters the U.S. market.
NOAA Teachers at Sea Spread the Word about Fisheries Science
Teachers At Sea are a unique component to at-sea research—they participate in the long shifts and odd hours of data collection and bring an educator's perspective to the endeavor.
Working Together for a Sustainable Crab Fishery
The Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program funds research on solutions to bycatch-related problems. Learn more about ongoing research in Oregon's Dungeness crab fishery.
Learn the "ABC's of Stock Assessment"
Watch our new sketch animation video, which tackles the often-misunderstood topic of stock assessments. Learn more about how we balance data and uncertainty in our approach to stock assessments.
Alaska Sablefish Tag Program, 1972 - 2012
Fish tagging programs are commonly used to determine or estimate species distribution, migratory patterns, abundance, and growth. The sablefish—one of the deepest dwelling and commercially valuable species in the northeast Pacific Ocean—has a lengthy history of tagging data. The data from this tagging program, which ran from 1972 to 2012, have been used to examine movement patterns, evaluate strategies to allocate annual catch quota, validate ageing methods, and examine growth.
Meet a Fisheries Observer with a Passion for Her Work
Fisheries observers, like fishermen, work hard at a job they believe in—making sure the nation's seafood supply is sustainable.
Keeping an Eye on Pollock
Scientists and fishermen work together to understand how walleye pollock respond to a changing environment.
Report to Congress on Status of U.S. Fisheries
In 2012, six stocks were declared rebuilt and the number of stocks on the overfishing list was at an all-time low.
Have Your Hake and Eat it Too
Last year, NOAA scientists and West Coast fishermen collaborated to reduce uncertainty in the Pacific hake fishery, improving near-term outlook for fishermen while protecting long-term availability of the fish.
From Gravel Pits to Salmon Habitat
California is looking at an innovative restoration method: reclaiming abandoned gravel pits as habitat for salmon.
New "Fishways" Lead to Astounding Herring Increase
Since the 2007 installation of two fishways on Massachusetts' Acushnet River, scientists have observed an astounding 1,140 percent increase in the number of migrating herring able to access prime spawning grounds.
Farmed Seafood Profiles Now Available on FishWatch.gov
In keeping with NOAA's commitment to ensuring seafood sustainability, we are providing detailed information on farmed fish and shellfish on FishWatch.gov. Visit our new farmed seafood profiles to explore these species, and learn more about farmed fisheries and how they are managed in the United States.
Technology Helps Fight Fraud—It's No Joke
Take a closer look at seafood fraud—when consumers or seafood buyers purchase a seafood product that is not what they are paying for.
Using the Pacific Ocean to predict Columbia River Chinook returns
Predicting the future isn’t easy. In salmon harvest management, we’re working to understand factors that help predict adult Chinook salmon returns to the Columbia River. Scientists from NOAA and Oregon State University found that a wide range of biological indicators from the Pacific ocean are better predictors of salmon returns than local or regional physical indicators. The accuracy of such predictions is invaluable to fishery managers in setting harvest limits and allocations.
First Integrated Pelagic Survey Completed of the Northeast U.S. Shelf
What happens during a comprehensive 16-day survey of the upper Northeast continental shelf? On the first survey of its kind, researchers focused on the physics, chemistry, and biology of the water column (pelagic zone). They collected data on plankton, fish, invertebrates, marine mammals, sea birds, sea turtles, nutrients, light levels, and currents—information that will be used for stock assessments, ecosystem status reports, satellite development, and offshore energy planning.
License to Krill: A Story About Ecosystem-Based Management
Antarctic krill—tiny shrimp-like creatures—are considered the greatest under-tapped biological resource in the ocean today. Krill are a critical part of the food chain. Many marine species and humans eat them in some form, and they are used routinely as bait in commercial and recreational fishing. As humans increasingly turn to the oceans for food, we must be careful to not undermine the marine food chain. Ecosystem-based fishery management can help.
A New Structure for the North Pacific Groundfish and Halibut Observer Program
In fisheries management, sound science is key to success. Observers support sound science by collecting species-specific data that would not otherwise show up in routine catch reports. In Alaska's billion dollar fisheries industry, new regulations are governing how observers are deployed into the area's fisheries. The changes, which are necessary for successful fisheries management, will increase the statistical reliability of data collected, address cost inequality among fishery participants, and expand coverage to previously unobserved fisheries.
International Guidelines Target IUU Fishing
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations adopts guidelines aimed at combating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
Networks of Researchers and Fishermen Working Together to Reduce Bycatch, Maximize Fishing Opportunities, and Advance Real-Time Technology
Two experts are better than one, especially when tackling challenges in New England and Mid-Atlantic fisheries. Fishermen, scientists, gear manufacturers, and managers are working together to gather information on fish distribution patterns and environmental conditions, share real-time information to identify bycatch hot spots, explore innovative survey methods, and develop more selective fishing gear. One innovation—a "Breakbag" codend—helps reduce large catches by detaching from a groundfish trawl net when a set volume of fish is caught.
New aquaculture species pages launched
Fish or shellfish farming—also known as aquaculture—refers to the breeding, rearing, and harvesting of plants and animals in all types of water environments including ponds, rivers, lakes, and the ocean. As a complement to wild harvest fisheries, aquaculture can help meet the growing demand for seafood, reduce our dependence on imports, and help rebuild wild fish stocks.
Fisheries Economics Report Released
U.S. commercial and recreational fishing supported 1.7 million full and part-time jobs in fishing across the broader economy in 2011, and generated $199 billion in sales impacts and contributed $88 billion to Gross Domestic Product.
Catching Up With Catch Shares
New fishery management program on West Coast gives fishermen greater flexibility and gives overfished species a break. Each fisherman or company is allocated a percentage of the year’s total allowable catch for a species. That share of the catch—the catch share—translates into the fisherman’s individual quota for the year, and they can fish it whenever they like.
NOAA-funded research investigates where Caribbean fish gather and spawn
NOAA-funded research in the Caribbean uses the underwater sounds of reef fish, such as groupers, to identify areas where they gather to spawn—a behavior that makes the fish easier to catch and susceptible to overfishing. Using underwater microphones, scientists can tell where, when, and how many fish there are, data that may lead to more precise measures to protect spawning locations and allow a depleted fish population to rebuild.
A Global Perspective on Tackling Illegal Fishing
Fishermen around the country might be accustomed to seeing NOAA special and enforcement officers out on the docks, but they might not realize that NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement also is at work internationally to protect them from the illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing that threatens their income and the sustainability of shared fishery resources.
Mark Twinam Fishes for Sharks Off Florida Coast
Meet Mark Twinam of St. Petersburg, Florida, who fishes from Madeira Beach for large coastal sharks such as hammerhead, lemon and bull sharks in the Gulf of Mexico. He’s part of a group of fishermen who help NOAA research sharks in exchange for landing and selling a small quota of sandbar sharks.
Teachers at Sea Get High-Tech with Mega Underwater Cameras
New underwater camera technologies are helping NOAA scientists conduct surveys in a less invasive way than traditional methods. HabCam is used for scallop research in the North Atlantic and takes roughly 6 images of the seafloor per second. NOAA scientists use Cam-Trawl, a camera-in-net technology, for pollock research in Alaska. This device may eventually reduce, if not eliminate, the need to catch fish to verify acoustic data.
Safeguarding Our Seafood Supply, NOAA's Forensic Analysts In Action
Trey Knott is a forensic analyst with NOAA's Marine Forensics Program. He and his colleagues use science to combat seafood fraud and trade in protected species using many of the same techniques of forensic DNA analysis that are used in the nation's crime labs. But there's one major difference. In most human cases, the analyst already knows the species that they're dealing with. When Knott begins his analysis, he often doesn't know even that.
Making a Model for Innovative Fish Passage
New Floating Surface Collector at the Baker Hydroelectric Project is a Model for Innovative Fish Passage
Sustainable Seafood: What's Science Got to Do With It?
This second 5-part series featured in The Seattle Times Newspapers in Education (NIE) was created to help educators introduce the science behind sustainable seafood.
Wave of the Future—New Integrated Technology
What do you get when you cross a wave glider with an acoustic tool and a smartphone? Integrated technology that may provide new, low-cost methods to research marine life and conducting fisheries surveys.
Scientists Link Climate Change and Gray Snapper
NOAA scientists continue to develop and improve the approaches used to understand the effect of climate change on marine fisheries along the U.S. east coast. Their latest study projects that one common coastal species found in the southeast U.S., gray snapper, will shift northwards in response to warming coastal waters.
Meet Bob Dooley, Who Fishes Whiting and Other Fish off the West Coast
Bob Dooley fishes for Bering Sea pollock, Pacific cod, West Coast whiting, and dungeness crabs. In this photo, a fisherman hauls pollock onto the Pacific Prince, one of Dooley's vessels.
Fishery Data, On the Double: NOAA Fisheries and Industry Join Forces on Combined Hake/Sardine Survey
When NOAA scientists conduct stock assessments of commercially valuable species, they aren't just counting fish. They use the latest technology to estimate fish abundance now and into the future, and they're constantly developing new methods to get more accurate results. This past summer, NOAA Fisheries developed a new procedure for surveying two valuable Pacific fisheries—hake and sardine—at the same time. NOAA worked with the fishing industry on this combined survey which may mean more frequent abundance estimates for both species, and better-managed and potentially more productive fisheries.
U.S. Participates in Annual International Meeting to Conserve Key Atlantic Marine Species
The International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas (ICCAT) concluded its annual meeting today in Agadir, Morocco with significant advances that will combat Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and support the rebuilding of bluefin tuna and marlin stocks.
NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement Tackles Seafood Fraud
From the halls of Congress to high-end restaurants, seafood fraud has been getting a lot of attention. Investigations by nongovernmental organizations and media outlets such as the Boston Globe have revealed that consumers in several metropolitan areas are routinely served something other than what is on the menu or at the fish market.
U.S. and Morocco Shake Hands on Sustainable Fisheries
Just yesterday a new step was taken in support of global sustainable fisheries—with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the United States and Morocco. The MOU reflects efforts by both countries to embrace modern principles of fisheries management.
Compliance, Plus Fair and Effective Enforcement, Are Vital to Managing Our Nation's Fisheries
Marine mammal shootings and smuggling operations. International conspiracies and local fraud. Paper trails and money trails. Not just the stuff of political thrillers, these are the kinds of issues NOAA's Office of Law Enforcement confronts every day.
Out of the Blue: Putting Local Fish Back on Our Plates, Helping Fishermen Get Some Green
Here in the United States, our seafood consumption habits haven't changed too much during the past several years. Eating about 15 pounds of seafood per person per year, we tend to eat the same types of seafood from shrimp, salmon, and canned tuna to milder species like tilapia, catfish, and pollock. While there's nothing wrong with an unadventurous appetite, health experts agree that we should be increasing not only the amount but also the variety of seafood we eat for a healthy diet.
Meet Terry Alexander, Redfish Fisherman
Meet Terry Alexander, a fourth generation fisherman from Harpswell, Maine, who has fished for 35 years. Alexander has teamed up with other fishermen, scientists, and the Gulf of Maine Research Institute to help revive redfish fishing now that the population has rebounded. Alexander is president of the Sustainable Harvest, a sector of Northeast groundfish fishermen, and owns two vessels, the F/V Jocka, a dragger used to fish for cod, haddock, and other groundfish, and the F/V Rachel T that gillnets groundfish. We caught up with him to learn more about the redfish revival and how sector management is working for him.
Fighting Pirate Fishing, Keeping Illegal Seafood Out of the Market
Pirate fishing is illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing, and it is threatening the sustainability of our ocean ecosystems and fisheries. Combating IUU fishing is one of NOAA Fisheries' top priorities. As a global leader in sustainable fisheries and one of the largest importers of seafood in the world, the United States must ensure the seafood we import is caught legally. Keeping unsafe, illegal product out of the market protects our fishermen from unfair competition and ensures consumer confidence in the seafood supply.
Tough Competition in the Big Easy: An Oregon Chef Is Crowned King of American Seafood
Armed with whisks, knives, and seafood native to their home states, chefs from around the country descended on New Orleans in August to battle for the title of King of American Seafood at the 2012 Great American Seafood Cook-off. We recently sat down with the winner of the 2012 Cook-off, Chef Gregory Gourdet of Portland, Oregon, to talk about his passions and philosophies as a chef, the Cook-off, and why he counts U.S. seafood, specifically from Oregon, as the key to his success.
Inspecting Seafood—A Highly Trained Nose Knows
Do you know how we inspect seafood? How about the most common types of seafood fraud? We sat down with NOAA Fisheries Steve Wilson, Seafood Inspection Chief Quality Officer, to learn how his staff ensures seafood is safe and high-quality. Read on to find out why a highly trained nose knows.
The Surprising Sources of Your Favorite Seafoods
Our top ten favorite seafoods in the United States haven't changed much in the past several years, but you might be surprised at where they come from. See how much you know about the source of your seafood.
Making Sense of Fish Stock Assessment Models
Stock assessments are one important piece of a dynamic cycle of management aimed at preserving our ocean resources. They provide scientific advice to decision-makers on the current health and future trends of a fish stock and its fishery. Assessments also offer the technical basis for setting annual fishery harvest levels (through quotas and catch limits) and other fishery management measures to keep our fisheries operating sustainably.
Counting Fish 101: An Analysis of Fish Stock Assessments
The Center for American Progress takes an in-depth look at stock assessments, and the important role they plan in modern fishery management in the United States and the sustainability of our fishery resources and the fishing industry.
Ocean Acidification: A NOAA Scientist's Perspective
The oceans have absorbed about a third of the carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide alters ocean chemistry, making seawater more acidic. The term researchers use for this phenomenon is 'Ocean Acidification', and it threatens not only the ecological health of the oceans, but also the economic well-being of the people and industries that depend on a healthy and productive marine environment. Dr. Shallin Busch co-leads a team of scientists at NOAA's Northwest Fisheries Science Center studying ocean acidification. She recently stopped in to NOAA headquarters while in D.C., and we had a chance to ask her a few questions.
Exploring the Aquaculture Industry in the United States
The world's fastest-growing form of food production and a vital component of our food supply, aquaculture (fish or shellfish farming) also supports commercial fisheries, coastal communities, and working waterfronts and enhances habitat and at-risk species. Take a look at the advantages, challenges, and growth of aquaculture in our country in a new NOAA Fisheries video.
Scientists Develop Alternative Feeds for Farmed Fish
The aquaculture industry's growing demand for fish feed, which is derived mainly from wild populations of smaller fish such as anchovies and sardines, will soon outstrip supply. Can we replace wild-caught fish in the diets of farmed fish so that the aquaculture industry's continued growth will be sustainable? Researchers from NOAA and the US Department of Agriculture have been working on this problem. A recently released report, The Future of Aquafeeds, details their progress.
2011 Fisheries Yearbook Shows Good Year for U.S. Seafood
Each year NOAA Fisheries compiles key fisheries statistics from the previous year into an annual snapshot documenting fishing's importance to the nation. The 2011 report provides landings totals for both domestic recreational and commercial fisheries by species and allows us to track important indicators such as annual seafood consumption and the productivity of top fishing ports.
Head of NOAA Fisheries Highlights U.S. Fisheries Statistics
Think back to your school days and the excitement you felt when your yearbook arrived. I always enjoyed looking back at all that happened during the year. It's with this same excitement that I share with you NOAA Fisheries' yearbook, Fisheries of the U.S., 2011. Yes, fitting our rich scientific tradition, this is a statistical yearbook filled with facts and figures about our domestic fisheries. Take the time to flip through the pages and you'll see Fisheries of the U.S., 2011 has some good news to share.
Sea Surface Temperatures Reach Record Highs on Northeast Continental Shelf
With sea surface temperatures reaching record highs on the Northeast Continental Shelf during the first half of 2012, scientists are predicting profound impacts on the area's ocean life. For instance, Atlantic cod are moving northeast of their historic distribution in response to warming waters. What this means for this important fishery resource is so far unknown, but we do know things are changing and we must continue monitoring and adapting to these changes.
Military Veterans Help Rebuild Northern California Fisheries
Veterans are getting a chance to train and work on habitat restoration and fisheries monitoring through a project funded by NOAA. Partnering with California Conservation Corps and California's Department of Fish and Game, NOAA will offer the vets a year-long program of paid training and hands-on experience that will open pathways to new careers in natural resource management and habitat conservation. The work will benefit fisheries, too!
Funding Innovative Research to Reduce Bycatch
Bycatch of various species—whether fish, marine mammals, or turtles—can have significant biological, economic, and social impacts on our nation's fisheries. Reducing bycatch can help fishermen increase their fishing opportunities and efficiency and can also increase catch rates for target species. Under the Bycatch Reduction Engineering Program, NOAA Fisheries works side-by-side with fishermen on their boats to develop solutions to some of the top bycatch challenges facing U.S. fisheries.
Aquaculture Techniques Help Conserve White Abalone
White abalone used to number in the millions off the southern California coast, but they've since declined to the point that, in 2001, they became the first marine invertebrate to be listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act. Recovery efforts to date haven't helped; in fact, trends indicate that this species is approaching extinction. NOAA Fisheries and partners are working to changes that using aquaculture techniques, they're producing captive-bred abalone that will be used to establish a self-sustaining population in the wild.
New Survey Tool Shows Juvenile Scallop Abundance
NOAA researchers are getting a comprehensive view of the ocean floor using a new instrument, and have confirmed high numbers of young sea scallops off of Delaware Bay, which bodes well for the future of the scallop fishery.
Cooking Up Sustainable Chinook Salmon, Oregon Chef Crowned New King of American Seafood
With a dish of slow-cooked Oregon Chinook salmon, Chef Gregory Gourdet of Departure Restaurant in Portland, Oregon took first place at the ninth annual Great American Seafood Cook-Off, an event partly sponsored by NOAA Fisheries to highlight—to American seafood consumers—the agency's commitment to a healthy marine environment and improving the nation's domestic seafood supply.
Dive into the Deep End of Shark Conservation
As one of the top predators of the oceans, sharks play an important role in the food web and help ensure balance in the ocean's ecosystem. As demand and exploitation rates for some shark species and shark products (i.e., fins) have increased, concern has steadily grown regarding the status of many shark stocks and the sustainability of global fisheries. Relative to other marine fish, sharks have biological characteristics that leave many shark species vulnerable to overfishing. Globally there is a general lack of data reporting on the catch of sharks, particularly species-specific data. For these reasons, sharks present an array of issues and challenges for fisheries conservation and management both domestically and internationally. Despite the challenges, NOAA Fisheries is committed to achieving sustainable management of sharks.
Successful Tag Recovery from Huge Bluefin Tuna
Three basic things you should know about bluefin tuna: they're big, they're fast, and they like to travel. So, when scientists from NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center actually tagged and released an 8-foot-long, 400-pound bluefin tuna in the Gulf of Mexico in April, they anxiously awaited to discover—where did that huge tuna go?
Mussel Aquaculture Supporting Gloucester Fishermen
For centuries, Gloucester, Massachusetts has been one of the nation's top fishing ports—a port filled with commercial and recreational fishing boats, fish buyers, distributors, ice houses, shipyards, seafood restaurants, and fishermen's bars. The town was built on a foundation of fish and fishing runs strongly through the city's blood. Now, NOAA is beginning to work with the fishermen of Gloucester (pronounced glos-ter) to add mussel farming, or aquaculture, as a complement to traditional fishing.
The King (Crab) of Sustainable Seafood
A truly sustainable fishery balances people, profit, and of course, the planet. CNN Money highlights disclaimer how the famous "'deadliest catch' is not so deadly anymore," and it's more profitable and environmentally friendly, too—basically a fishery manager's dream come true. Under an innovative management approach, the Bristol Bay red king crab fishery now operates more efficiently, safely, and profitably than ever, all while the crab population remains abundant and bycatch of other species is minimal.
Modifying Trawl Gear, Preserving Fish Habitat in the Bering Sea
Flatfish trawl gear isn't what it used to be, and that's a good thing. In the Bering Sea, traditional trawl gear had long sweeps, or cables running from the doors to the wings of the net, which moved across the bottom of the seafloor to herd flatfish into the center of the net. NOAA Fisheries scientists and partners like Alaska Seafood Cooperative and Bering Sea flatfish fishing industry members collaborated to modify the gear so it reduces the damage to important bottom habitat.
Climate and Fish Sticks
Multiple types of white fish have been used for fish sticks, but today, the primary fish-stick fish is Alaska pollock (Theragra chalcogramma). With an annual harvest that fluctuates around a million tons, Alaska pollock is the United States' largest fishery, and it's one of the biggest, most economically valuable fisheries in the world. Alaska pollock populations exhibit large fluctuations from year to year. Historically, declines in some regions were exacerbated by heavy fishing. By establishing annual catch limits (quotas) on this stock since 1977, the United States has long worked to ensure that the pollock fishery is a model for sustainable seafood harvest. While quotas have largely addressed the problem of human overfishing of Alaska pollock, another challenge looms for NOAA Fisheries: keeping up with changes in climate. Warmer water temperatures appear to be a double-whammy for pollock: they reduce availability of the pollock's preferred food, while increasing the populations of its predators.
Five Fish Desperate for Healthy Habitat
Healthy habitat is vital to abundant fisheries and marine life. Fish use habitat to feed, grow, reproduce, and raise their young so these places need to be in good condition for fish populations to survive and thrive.
The Science Behind Restoring a River and Rebuilding a Fishery
In September 2011, the largest dam removal in U.S. history began on the Elwha River in Washington—home to all five species of Pacific salmon. Just a few short months after the 108-foot tall Elwha Dam was removed, fish are already returning to their restored habitat.
Economic and Conservation Benefits of Catch Shares
In 2011, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council and NOAA Fisheries implemented the West Coast Groundfish Trawl Catch Share Program. In just one year, the program has become a national model for sustainable fisheries management that ensures overfishing is behind us, provides stability to the fishing industry, and supports the fishing infrastructure of many Pacific coastal communities.
Seafood Connects You to Deep-Sea Coral
How are you connected to deep-sea corals? For one, deep-sea corals are home to important commercial fish species such as grouper, snapper, sea bass, rockfish, shrimp, and crab. One way to protect deep-sea corals is to make wise seafood choices that support sustainable fishing practices.
2012 Regional Fishery Council Appointments Announced
The Commerce Department recently announced the appointment of 30 new and returning members to the eight regional fishery management councils that partner with NOAA Fisheries to manage ocean fish stocks. Council members represent diverse groups, including commercial and recreational fishing industries, environmental interests and academia, and carry out the Magnuson-Stevens Act's requirements to end overfishing, rebuild fish stocks, and manage them sustainably.
NOAA Works to Conserve Sharks in our Global Oceans
Silently patrolling the ocean depths for the last 400 million years, sharks are some of the oldest creatures on the planet...and some of the most elusive. However, that's changing a bit now that NOAA scientists are working collaboratively with Uruguay's fisheries agency to research blue sharks in the southwestern Atlantic Ocean using state-of-the-art tagging techniques and satellite monitoring. Experts believe that this research could lead to better conservation of sharks, by informing sustainable fishing practices and reducing unnecessary bycatch.
Scientists predict season's first king salmon on the Yukon River
When are the salmon coming? That's what people along the Yukon River are asking this month, as they gear up for another season of fishing. The timing of the year's first run of Chinook (king) salmon can vary by as much as 20 days, depending on spring conditions. Researchers from NOAA Fisheries and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game use data on these conditions to predict the timing of the salmon run.
Building a Community Supported Fisheries Network
Have you ever wished you could have fresh, locally caught seafood delivered direct to you every week? What if your purchase helped support the local fishing communities in the process? In a growing number of communities, this is a reality. Community supported fisheries, or CSFs, link fishermen to their local markets. It works like this: any member of the public can pre-pay for a "season" of fresh, local, low-impact seafood, and in turn, receive a weekly or bi-weekly share of fish or shellfish.
New Bering Sea Research Reveals How Changing Ecosystems Impact Our Most Valuable Fisheries
Alaska waters host some of the most commercially valuable U.S. fisheries. More than half of the U.S. seafood Americans eat is caught in Alaska. Understanding what role natural and human-influenced variations in temperature, nutrients, sea ice, and other factors play in the ecosystem will enable better predictions of climate impacts that affect the economy and people of the region. NOAA researchers and their partners studied Bering Sea ice and ecosystem conditions over six years in order to understand the processes that influence the eastern Bering Sea marine ecosystem and recently published their findings.
US-EU Share Vision for Sustainable Fisheries
Fish swim beyond national boundaries. Because fish are a shared resource, the long-term sustainability of the world's fisheries can only be achieved through effective international cooperation. In support of this goal, NOAA seeks to ensure that management of global fish stocks is science-based, that U.S. commercial and recreational fishermen have equitable access to these fisheries, and that a steady supply of safe, legal, and sustainable seafood is available to meet consumer demand into the future. The United States and the European Union have outlined a similar vision for fisheries reform in the global arena—one that will provide for ecological and economic stability.
Restored Fish Passage Equals Record Fish Runs
Culverts—the pipes that allow water to flow under roads and bridges—can sometimes block fish from swimming upstream. When this happens, fish can't reach their spawning habitat. In 2010, we replaced culverts on Bride Brook, the second largest herring run in Connecticut. With the increased flow from the new, larger culvert, herring were able to swim upstream for the first time in more than a decade. And this year, Bride Brook reaped the benefits: this year's run was more than triple what we had seen in the past.
Turtle Bycatch Experiments Empower Students
In Baja California, Mexico, NOAA Fisheries scientists are doubling the impact of their research—protecting endangered sea turtles while mentoring the next generation of ocean scientists and ocean leaders. Through a partnership with the San Diego-based non-profit Ocean Discovery Institute, NOAA is giving hands-on research opportunities to young people from urban and diverse backgrounds.
Making Sense of Fish Stock Assessments
NOAA Fisheries' scientific stock assessments are key to fisheries management. They examine the effects of fishing and other factors to describe the past and current status of a fish stock, answer questions about the size of a fish stock, and make predictions about how a fish stock will respond to current and future management measures. Fish stock assessments support sustainable fisheries by providing fisheries managers with the information necessary to make sound decisions. Find out more about the data required for assessing U.S. fish stocks in part one of our Stock Assessment 101 Series.
Annual NOAA Report Shows Record Number of Rebuilt Fisheries
NOAA Fisheries releases the 15th Annual Report to Congress on the Status of the Nation's Fisheries. This report documents our national journey toward ending overfishing and rebuilding the nation's fisheries.
Meet Ann and Richard Cook, Fishermen and Purveyors of Local Catch
Ann and Capt. Richard Cook of Charlestown, Rhode Island sell locally caught, fresh seafood at Rhode Island and Connecticut farmers markets, restaurants and through their community supported fishery program. Capt. Cook also fishes for summer flounder, striped bass, sea bass and lobster from the Sandra Lynn, his 35-foot fiberglass boat.
Meet Bob Keese, Scallop Fisherman
Scalloping is a big and growing business in the United States. It's also a sustainable fishery. Here we feature Bob Keese, a scallop fisherman out of Chatham, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod. Keese says scalloping is better than it ever has been; there's a bigger demand and the price is higher. Bob and his crew work for a small, clean fishery. They typically shuck about 600 pounds of scallops a day and sell what's been freshly landed. Click on the video below to hear Bob's story, how he makes his living harvesting scallops, and why he loves fishing in Cape Cod.
Fund Supports Sharing Fisheries Innovations
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation recently awarded 18 grants from its Fisheries Innovation Fund for a total $1.55 million, and grantees will match the funds more than $1.2 million. The fund targets local innovation and knowledge transfer to sustain coastal communities and the fisheries upon which they depend. The most recent grant recipients focus on improving access to fish, capital, and shore-side infrastructure.
Fisheries Observers: Sentinels of the Sea (and Seafood)
Observers are NOAA-trained biologists who monitor commercial fisheries nationwide, collecting data on catch and bycatch as well as biological samples, information on fishing gear, and economic data. This data is critical for smart fishery management and the future of our seafood supply.
Today's Fresh Catch: Invasive Snakehead
Two recreational fishermen (a chef and a seafood salesman by trade) are leading a unique grassroots movement to control the spread of northern snakehead, an invasive species that threatens the future of an ecosystem they know and love. How do they plan to do it? By creating a market for snakeheads and eating them!
Fishermen and Scientists Work Toward Common Goal
Take a look at the collaboration between NOAA scientists and fishermen and hear how this team is using new tools to survey, research, and better understand depleted, commercially important groundfish in the Southern California Bight—the area located in coastal southern California which includes the Channel Islands and part of the Pacific Ocean.
Overfishing vs. overfished: the same thing?
When you see the word "overfishing" it's only natural to think this only applies to, well, fishing. Although fishing adds significant pressure, fish stocks can also become "overfished" for many other reasons, including natural mortality, disease, and environmental conditions.
Meet Phil Harris, Black Cod Fisherman
Meet Phil Harris, a commercial fisherman who uses traps to catch black cod, or sablefish, in waters off San Diego. Phil and his crew work hard to get fresh, quality, sustainable fish straight to the consumer.
Gulf Seafood Safety
Learn more about the safety of seafood from the Gulf of Mexico post-Deepwater Horizon.
Meet Rob Seitz, Commercial Fisherman
Meet Rob Seitz, a commercial fisherman who fishes for dungeness crabs and groundfish in the waters off Astoria, Oregon and Ilwaco, Washington.
Meet Bill Dewey, Shellfish Farmer
Meet Bill Dewey of Taylor Shellfish Farms in Shelton, Washington. A biologist by training, Bill owns and runs his own clam farm in addition to his job at Taylor.
Meet Laura Anderson, Seafood Restaurant Owner
Meet Laura Anderson, owner of Local Ocean Seafood—a popular seafood restaurant on the waterfront in scenic Newport, Oregon. Watch a video to hear her story and learn why she works so hard to bring a variety of sustainable local seafood to her customers.
Meet Linda Behnken, Commercial Fisherman
Meet Linda Behnken, a commercial fisherman out of Alaska. Behnken has been fishing for halibut, sablefish, and salmon in Alaskan waters since 1982. With her husband, she co-owns the Woodstock, a 40-foot boat home-ported in Sitka, a small community in Alaska's southeast.
Meet Perry Raso, Oyster Farmer
Meet Perry Raso, an oyster farmer and owner of Matunuck Oyster Farm, who has been growing oysters in a Rhode Island salt pond since 2002. Two years ago, Raso also opened Matunuck Oyster Bar, a seafood restaurant next door.