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Welcome to NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NOAA Fisheries Service). NOAA Fisheries Service is dedicated to the stewardship of living marine resources through science-based conservation and management, and the promotion of healthy ecosystems.

As a steward, NOAA Fisheries Service conserves, protects, and manages living marine resources in a way that ensures their continuation as functioning components of marine ecosystems, affords economic opportunities, and enhances the quality of life for the American public.

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An electronic version of the 2007 NOAA Fisheries Service Business Report is now available. >> read more

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Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing NOAA Will Work With Six Identified Nations to Address Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing
NOAA has submitted the first ever report to Congress identifying six nations – France, Italy, Libya, Panama, People's Republic of China, Tunisia - whose fishing vessels were engaged in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing in 2007 or 2008. This opens the way for consultations between the U.S. government and officials of each of the six nations to encourage them to take corrective action to stop IUU fishing by their vessels. Annual global economic losses due to IUU fishing are estimated to be about $9 billion, according to an international task force on IUU fishing. >> read more
Commercial Fishing New Economic Report Finds Commercial and Recreational Fishing Generated More Than Two Million Jobs
U.S. commercial and recreational fishing generated more than $185 billion in sales and supported more than two million jobs in 2006, according to a new economic report released by NOAA Fisheries Service. >> read more
Seals NOAA and Partners Attempt Disentanglement of Right Whale off Florida
NOAA Fisheries Service and its rescue team partners have removed hundreds of feet of rope from a North Atlantic right whale. "Although we did not remove all of the entangling rope, we feel confident the rest of the rope will slough off as the whale swims through the water," said Jamison Smith, NOAA Fisheries Service's large whale disentanglement coordinator. Smith says the whale is a young whale born in 2007. It was last sighted on September 25, 2008 in the Bay of Fundy, Canada, where it was not entangled at the time. With only 300-400 in existence, North Atlantic right whales are among the most endangered whales in the world. They are protected under the U.S. Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972. Vessel strikes and entanglement in fixed fishing gear are the two greatest threats to their recovery. >> read more
Seals NOAA Determines Ribbon Seals Should Not be Listed as Endangered
NOAA Fisheries Service announced that ribbon seals are not in current danger of extinction or likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future, and should not be listed under the Endangered Species Act. >> read more
Angler Registry NOAA to Create Saltwater Angler Registry in 2010
NOAA Fisheries Service released its final rule to create a national saltwater angler registry of all marine recreational fishermen to help the nation better protect our shared marine resources. A requirement to establish a registry was included in a statute approved by Congress in 2007. >> read more
Noaa Kiosk Ships Must Slow Down to Protect North Atlantic Right Whales
Ships in southeastern Atlantic and mid-Atlantic U.S. waters must slow down to protect endangered right whales starting this week. A landmark regulation went into effect on Dec. 9 and requires ships 65 feet or longer to travel at 10 knots or less in certain areas where right whales gather. These new speed restrictions will take effect in waters off New England beginning in January 2009 when whales begin gathering in this area as part of their annual migration. >> read more
Smithsonian's Image Smithsonian's Ocean Hall Opens to Broad Acclaim
The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History recently unveiled the Sant Ocean Hall, offering visitors an exciting opportunity to learn about the planet's largest and most complex ecosystem, the ocean. This brand new 23,000 square foot exhibit contains seven galleries, featuring 674 marine specimens and models, a salt water coral tank, giant squid, and a life-size model of a North Atlantic right whale named Phoenix. NOAA Fisheries Service was instrumental in developing an interactive demonstration on science-based management of sustainable fisheries, and providing content for the Ocean Today kiosk, a multi-media video library. >> read more

FishWatch - U.S. Seafood Facts NOAA Develops Seafood Consumer Guide
Seafood consumers in the United States, increasingly concerned about the sustainability and quality of seafood, can now turn to a NOAA Fisheries Service Web site, FishWatch, for the latest information. This consumer guide provides the best available scientific information on over 60 of the most popular types of seafood. More species will be added to the site in the near future.

WARNING:   Consult IUU Fishing Lists Before Making Commercial Arrangements

Illegal, unreported, or unregulated (IUU) vessel lists have been created by Regional Fishery Management Organizations to combat IUU fishing practices. Certain penalties may apply to vessels included on such lists; therefore, it is advisable to consult these lists before making commercial arrangements with listed vessels. Penalties may include restricted port access or unloading prohibitions. Some lists are intended to include only fishing vessels, some can include transport vessels as well. For more information: >> read more

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FishNews News Briefs

Elkhorn Coral New Endangered Species Act Regulations Published

Fish Groundfish Catch Limits Proposed, Including 2009 TAC for Eastern Bering Sea Pollock

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A sampling of shark drawings from readers of Jim Toomey's "Sherman's Lagoon"
syndicated comic strip.
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WeirdFins is NOAA Fisheries Service’s new educational podcast series. Each weekly two minute episode is guaranteed to make learning about ocean life fun. WeirdFins is for kids 8 to 14, but will interest people of all ages.
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The U.S. Government's Official Web Portal - The U.S. Goverment's Official Web Portal

Whale High Numbers of Right Whales Seen in Gulf of Maine
A large number of North Atlantic right whales have been seen in the Gulf of Maine in recent days, leading researchers at NOAA's Northeast Fisheries Science Center to believe they have identified a wintering ground and potentially a breeding ground for this endangered species. The Center's aerial survey team saw 44 individual right whales on December 3 in the Jordan Basin area, located about 70 miles south of Bar Harbor, Maine. "We're excited because seeing 44 right whales together in the Gulf of Maine is a record for the winter months, when daily observations of 3 to 5 animals are much more common," said team leader Tim Cole. An estimated 100 female North Atlantic right whales head south in winter to give birth in the waters off Florida and Georgia, but little is known about where other individual right whales in the population go in winter, largely due to difficult surveying conditions. >> read more
Halibut NOAA Proposes Rule to Reduce Charter Halibut Catch
NOAA Fisheries Service proposed reducing the number of halibut that charter vessel anglers in southeast Alaska can keep, from two each day to one. The proposed rule, which would take effect this spring, would allow each charter vessel client to use only one fishing line, and no more than six lines targeting halibut would be allowed on a charter vessel at one time. The rule would prohibit guides and crew from catching and retaining halibut while charter halibut clients are on board. >> read more
Whales NOAA Finds Decline in Pollock; Recommends Catch Cut to Council
NOAA has released new scientific information showing a decline in the walleye pollock biomass that has the agency recommending a cut to the pollock catch for 2009 in the eastern Bering Sea. "Although the pollock biomass was well above average in the 1990s, our surveys show a substantial decline in recent years," said Doug DeMaster, science and research director for NOAA’s Alaska Fisheries Science Center. "The stock has been closely monitored and management decisions have historically followed sound conservation principles. We anticipate lower catch limits for 2009." >> read more
White Abalone NOAA Completes White Abalone Recovery Plan
NOAA's Fisheries Service has made available the final recovery plan for white abalone, a marine mollusk listed in 2001 as endangered under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This recovery plan outlines reasonable actions which are believed to be required to recover and/or protect white abalone, and is required by the ESA as a guideline for the conservation and survival of ESA listed species. The primary goal of this recovery plan is to establish self-sustaining populations of white abalone in a number of locations throughout its historic range. >> read more
Federal Agencies to Propose Expanding Gulf of Maine Atlantic Salmon Population Protected by Endangered Species Listing
NOAA Fisheries Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have announced a proposal to redefine the endangered Gulf of Maine population of Atlantic salmon to include fish found in nearby areas. The proposal would expand the endangered designation to consist of Atlantic salmon populations from the Androscoggin River to the Dennys River, including anadromous salmon inhabiting the Kennebec and Penobscot rivers, as well as hatchery fish used in the recovery effort. >> read more
NOAA Training Workshops for Seafood Dealers and Fishermen

Free workshops are planned to assist Atlantic shark dealers with the identification of various shark species. Accurate species identification is important because some regulations vary by species; some stocks are severely overfished, while others are more plentiful. Atlantic shark dealers are required to attend the shark identification workshops in order to maintain valid Federal permits. In addition, special workshops for commercial fishermen who use bottom longline, pelagic longline, or gillnet gear will help them learn new techniques for releasing any protected species (e.g. sea turtles) that are caught accidentally. These "safe handling" workshops are required for fishermen who wish to maintain Federal swordfish and shark fishing permits.
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