National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) - Alaska Fisheries Science Center


FLC Region

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7600 Sand Point Way N.E.
Building 4
Seattle, WA 98115
United States

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The Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) is the research branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Marine Fisheries Service responsible for research on living marine resources in the coastal oceans off Alaska and off parts of the west coast of the United States. This region of nearly three million square miles includes the North Pacific Ocean and the eastern Bering Sea which support some of the most important commercial fisheries in the world. These waters are also home to the largest marine mammal populations in the Nation.

With a staff of approximately 400 men and women, the Alaska Fisheries Science Center conducts field and laboratory research to help conserve and manage the region's living marine resources in compliance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act of 1996, the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, and the Endangered Species Act of 1973.

Center scientists compile and analyze broad databases on fishery, oceanography, marine mammal, and environmental research. These data are used to develop policies and strategies for fisheries management within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone , monitor and assess the health of the region's marine mammal populations, and develop the scientific understanding and predictive methodologies needed to implement NOAA Fisheries' ecosystem approach to management. In addition to ongoing survey and assessment activities, the AFSC is engaged in cutting-edge research on emerging issues such as global warming and the loss of sea ice in the Bering Sea.

The primary responsibilities of the Center are to provide scientific data and analysis and technical advice to the NMFS Alaska Regional Office , North Pacific Fishery Management Council , state of Alaska, Alaskan coastal subsistence communities, and U.S. representatives participating in international fishery and marine mammal negotiations, as well as the fishing industry and its constituents. The Center also coordinates fisheries and marine mammal research with other Federal and state agencies, academic institutions, and foreign nations.

Research programs at the Center are managed and conducted through the Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering Division , Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management Division , National Marine Mammal Laboratory , Fisheries Monitoring and Analysis Division and Auke Bay Laboratory , in addition to the new Habitat and Ecological Processes Program , a unique cross-cutting program which focuses Center resources on interdisciplinary research topics. Program objectives are carried out at the AFSC Directorate in the NOAA Western Regional Center's Sand Point Facility in Seattle, Washington, and from facilities in Alaska and Oregon .


The mission of the Alaska Fisheries Science Center is to plan, develop, and manage scientific research programs which generate the best scientific data available for understanding, managing, and conserving the region's living marine resources and the environmental quality essential for their existence.

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