Welcome to the web site for NOAA Research, NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research

skip to content program navigation


Search  this web siteSEARCH  |  SITEMAP

Learn more about these OCEAN and COASTAL RESEARCH areas...


Goal and Background

NOAA Research, in cooperation with its research partners, provides scientific results to help understand and manage our nation's ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes fisheries resources. Many of these resources are in need of rebuilding following years of excessive harvesting and the degradation of their environments from both natural and human-induced causes. Commercial fishing activities contribute over $28 billion a year to our economy, and over 17 million Americans spend about $25 billion a year on recreational marine fishing activities. It is, therefore, vitally important that science-based measures are implemented to protect, restore, and manage these valuable resources. This corresponds directly to NOAA's Mission Goal 1: Protect, restore, and manage the use of coastal and ocean resources through ecosystem-based management.

Research Activities

Most of the fisheries research supported by NOAA Research is through the National Sea Grant College Program and its network of 30 university-based state Sea Grant Programs and approximately 300 associated educational and research institutions nationwide. Sea Grant addresses fisheries research and extension in nine key areas including new approaches to fisheries management, population dynamics, socioeconomics, advanced sampling technology, stock enhancement, essential fisheries habitat, harvest technology/conservation engineering, fisheries oceanography, and Great Lakes fisheries.

Fisheries research by other components of NOAA Research and its partner Joint Research Institutes located at universities tends to be more specialized. Important work has been done by the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan on the use of fisheries acoustics to estimate fish population density and on factors affecting recruitment of various fish species. Visit GLERL's website for a complete listing of their fisheries research projects. The Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colorado has developed LIDAR (LIght Detection And Ranging) technology for surveying fish populations from aircraft that can allow scientists to conduct more accurate surveys over larger areas at lower cost relative to conventional sampling techniques using ships. NOAA's Undersea Research Program, through its six regional centers located in Connecticut, New Jersey, North Carolina, Bahamas, Alaska, and Hawaii, is a unique national service that provides undersea scientists with the tools (e.g., submersibles, remotely operated or autonomous underwater vehicles, mixed gas diving gear, underwater laboratories and observatories) and expertise they need conduct fisheries research in the undersea environment.

The fisheries research theme at the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies at the University of Miami is to enhance our understanding of fisheries and ecosystem dynamics in support of the management of fisheries and marine protected species. The goal of the fisheries oceanography research being done by the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research located at the University of Hawaii is to support the management of important pelagic fish species in the vicinity of Hawaii and the central and western Pacific Ocean and recovery of protected marine species in Hawaii and the central North Pacific. The Cooperative Institute for New England Mariculture and Fisheries at the University of New Hampshire is addressing capture fisheries issues on several fronts: improving our understanding of the relationship between groundfish and their habitat and the effect of protected areas on fisheries productivity and biodiversity; physiology, biology, and migration patterns of the large pelagic species with emphasis on the Atlantic bluefin tuna; and assessing prospects and consequences of wild stock enhancement using aquacultured finfish.

National Benefits

Some of the research and extension/outreach activities conducted in recent years by NOAA's National Sea Grant College Program have produced outcomes described in the document Addressing Fisheries Issues in the Modern Era.

Other benefits can be founded by visiting the various websites below for NOAA Research programs that are involved in fisheries research.


Fresh seafood available for sale at the Pike Place Fish Company

Fresh seafood is the main attraction at the Pike Place Fish Company.



NOAA Research programs that study Fisheries:

Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
 National Sea Grant College Program
 NOAA's Undersea Research Program
 Earth System Research Laboratory
 Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies
 Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research
 Cooperative Institute for New England Mariculture and Fisheries



Additional Related Information:

Sea Grant Project Search (search the Sea Grant database for fisheries projects that have been funded)

NOAA Fisheries Home Page (links to the NOAA organization responsible for the stewardship of living marine resources through science-based conservation and management and the promotion of healthy ecosystems)


NEXT -- Aquaculture