Government Issue - A collection of links for various federal agencies that regulate, govern and manage fisheries, protect our coastal waters, and protect our environment.   Included are links for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), Fishery Management Councils, and the US Coast Guard

    Marine Fisheries Commissions:

    Formed by Congress in the 1940s, there are three Interstate Marine Fisheries Commissions in the United States today – Atlantic States, Gulf States and Pacific States.   They are charged with developing interstate fishery management plans for interjurisdictional fishery resources.   In other words, they are supposed to coordinate fishery management within state waters (up to three miles from shore.)   Commissioners come from the member states and each state provides three (one is a state legislator, one is a private citizen appointed by the state's governor, and one is a state fishery director.)   The Commissions are funded through federal grants, special contracts, and dues from their respective member states.

    Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC) - Formed by Congress and the fifteen Atlantic coast states in 1942 to assist in managing and conserving their shared coastal fishery resources.   The states have found that their mutual interest in sustaining healthy coastal fishery resources is best achieved by working together cooperatively, in collaboration with the federal government.   Through this approach, the states uphold their collective fisheries management responsibilities in a cost effective, timely, and responsive fashion.   Member states are Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida.

    Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC) - Founded in 1949, the Commission is empowered to make recommendations to the governors and legislatures of the five Gulf States regarding the management of the fisheries.   Its charge is to "to promote better utilization of the fisheries, marine, shell and anadromous, of the seaboard of the Gulf of Mexico, by the development of a joint program for the promotion and protection of such fisheries and the prevention of the physical waste of the fisheries from any cause."

    Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC) - Formed by Congress in 1947, the PSMFC helps resource agencies and the fishing industry sustainably manage the valuable Pacific Ocean resources in a five-state region.   The Commissions primary goal is to promote and support policies and actions to conserve, develop, and manage their fishery resources through coordinating research activities, monitoring fishing activities, and facilitating a wide variety of projects.   They collect data and maintain databases on salmon, steelhead, and other marine fish for fishery managers and the fishing industry.   Member states are California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Alaska.

    Federal Fishery Management Councils:

    In 1976, Sec. 302 of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act created eight Regional Fishery Management Councils (listed below).   Each Council is responsible for the area adjacent to its constituent states, called the Exclusive Economic Zone (federal waters from three to 200 miles offshore).   Councils develop fishery management plans and management measures for the fisheries within their EEZ.   NOAA Fisheries Service then approves and implements these plans and measures.

    CARIBBEAN FISHERY MANAGEMENT COUNCIL - The CFMC manages fishery resources in the federal waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

    Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council - The GMFMC manages fishery resources in the federal waters of the Gulf of Mexico and includes representation from Alabama, West Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas

    Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council - The MAFMC is responsible for the management of fisheries in federal waters which occur predominantly off the mid-Atlantic coast. States with voting representation on the Council include New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina

    New England Fishery Management Council - The NEFMC manages the fishery resources in the federal waters off the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut

    North Pacific Fishery Management Council - The NPFMC has jurisdiction over the 900,000 square mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) off Alaska (including the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) and Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands.)  The Council manages cod, pollack, flatfish, mackerel, sablefish, and rockfish species, and also makes allocative and limited entry decisions for Pacific halibut

    Pacific Fishery Management Council - The PFMC manages salmon, groundfish and coastal pelagic species in federal waters Washington, Oregon and California, and recommends Pacific halibut harvest regulations to the International Pacific Halibut Commission

    South Atlantic Fishery Management Council - The SAFMC is responsible for managing the fisheries in federal waters off the coasts of North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and East Florida

    Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council - The WPRFMC is responsible for the fisheries in federal waters around the Territory of American Samoa, Territory of Guam, State of Hawaii, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands and US Pacific island possessions

    NOAA Fisheries Sites:

    Formally known as the National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the stewardship of the nation's ocean resources and their habitat.  Their stated mission is to provide productive and sustainable fisheries, safe sources of seafood, the recovery and conservation of protected resources, and healthy ecosystems.   NOAA Fisheries is an office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration within the Department of Commerce.   They have five regional offices, six science centers, more than 20 laboratories and about 4,800 staff including scientists, policy managers, and enforcement officers around the United States.   Their budget in 2015 is $958.2 million and they are proposing a $990.1 million budget for fiscal year 2016.   Yes, this funded by your tax dollars.

    NOAA Fisheries Headquarters - Silver Spring, MD

    NOAA Fisheries - News Releases (updated daily)

    NOAA Fisheries - Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office Regulations

    NOAA Fisheries - Office of Sustainable Fisheries - Access to information associated with and resulting from National Marine Fisheries Service implementation of the Sustainable Fisheries Act, including changes and amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

    NOAA Fisheries - Permit Shop - Get your Highly Migratory Species (HMS) permit here.   You'll need this $20 federal permit for your boat if you want to land Yellowfin, Bluefin, Bigeye, Albacore and Skipjack tunas.   Also required for Swordfish, Sailfish, Blue Marlin, White Marlin and certain Sharks.

    NOAA Fisheries - Office of Science and Technology - This Division collects data and coordinates information and research programs to support stewardship (regulations) of the nations' marine resources.   Use this link to query Recreational and Commercial Fisheries statistics.   Aren't you curious to see what they think you are catching?

    NOAA Fisheries - Alaska Regional Office - Juneau, AK

    NOAA Fisheries - Alaska Fisheries Science Center - Seattle, WA

    NOAA Fisheries - Greater Atlantic Region - Gloucester, MA

    NOAA Fisheries - Greater Atlantic Region Science Center  - Plans, develops, and manages a multidisciplinary program of basic and applied research of our Northeast marine resources, habitat quality, conservation, utilization, maintenance and restoration - Woods Hole, MA

    NOAA Fisheries - Greater Atlantic Science Center - James J. Howard Marine Sciences Laboratory, Sandy Hook, NJ

    NOAA Fisheries - Greater Atlantic Science Center - Milford, CT Laboratory

    NOAA Fisheries - Greater Atlantic Science Center - Narragansett, RI Laboratory

    NOAA Fisheries - Greater Atlantic Science Center - Woods Hole, MA Laboratory

    NOAA Fisheries - West Coast Region - Regional offices are located at Seattle, WA, Portland, OR, Sacramento, CA and Long Beach, CA

    NOAA Fisheries - Northwest Fisheries Science Center - Seattle, WA

    NOAA Fisheries - Southwest Fisheries Science Center - La Jolla, CA

    NOAA Fisheries - Southeast Regional Office - St. Petersburg, FL

    NOAA Fisheries - Southeast Fisheries Science Center - Miami, FL

    National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Sites:

    NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.   This $6 billion federal agency is part of the the Department of Commerce and provides daily weather forecasts, severe storm warnings, climate monitoring, coastal restoration and lest we forget, fisheries management - Washington, DC

    NOAA - Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) Home page

    NOAA - List of Oceanography Resources

    NOAA - National Ocean Service Data Explorer - Data Explorer offers interactive mapping tools that allow users to locate NOS products in any area in the United States and its territories through a metadata catalog.   Search results provide users with metadata records and links to websites with additional information.   Specific data sets are available to view and download - Silver Spring, MD

    NOAA - National Marine Sanctuaries - Information about our nation's marine sanctuaries including their history and current management, and their scientific and educational programs - Silver Spring, MD

    NOAA - National Oceanographic Data Center (NODC) - A national repository and dissemination facility for global oceanographic data which acquires and preserves a historical record of the Earth's changing environment.   The NODC is an organization made up of the Oceanographic Data Center, National Coastal Data Development Center, World Data Center for Oceanography, and the NOAA Central Library which are integrated to provide access to the world's most comprehensive sources of marine environmental data and information.

    NOAA - National Weather Service - Provides weather, hydrologic, and climate forecasts and warnings for the United States, its territories, adjacent waters and ocean areas - Silver Spring, MD

    NOAA - National Weather Radio - These are the fine folks that produce those robotic-voiced coastal and offshore weather forecasts you listen to on your marine VHF radio or little battery-powered weather radio.

    NOAA - Office of Coast Survey - Provides useful and necessary navigational products which are required for the safe and efficient maritime commerce in and out of our Nation's ports.   Products include the National Survey Plan, Electronic Navigational Charts, Historical Charts, Coast Pilot, and Bathy/Topo/Shoreline Charts - Silver Spring, MD

    NOAA - Office of Coast Survey - AWOIS - Automated Wreck and Obstruction Information System (AWOIS) contains information on approximately 10,000 submerged wrecks and obstructions in the coastal waters of the United States.  Information includes latitude and longitude of each feature along with brief historic and descriptive details.

    NOAA - Office of Coast Survey CoastWatch Program - The CoastWatch Program makes data and imagery available from a variety of sensors and satellites.   A wide variety of sea surface temperature, ocean surface wind and ocean color images are available for both viewing and downloading.

    NOAA - Office of Coast Survey - Historical Maps and Charts - Silver Spring, MD

    NOAA - Office of Coast Survey - Nautical Charts and Publications - NOAA produces and maintains a suite of nautical charts that cover the coastal waters of the U.S. and its territories.   NOAA's charts are available in a variety of formats, including: Traditional paper charts; Print-on-Demand charts; Raster Navigational Charts® (NOAA RNCs); and Electronic Navigational Charts® (NOAA ENCs) - Silver Spring, MD

    NOAA - Office of Coast Survey - United States Coast Pilot® - Consists of a series of nautical books that cover a variety of information important to navigators of coastal and intracoastal waters.   Topics in the Coast Pilot include channel descriptions, anchorages, bridge and cable clearances, currents, tide and water levels, prominent features, pilotage, towage, weather, ice conditions, wharf descriptions, dangers, routes, traffic separation schemes, small-craft facilities, and Federal regulations applicable to navigation.  Electronic versions of the Coast Pilot publications are available for download - Silver Spring, MD

    NOAA - Office of Habitat Conservation - Our goal is to manage, conserve and enhance habitats for fishery resources, protected species and other living marine resources - Silver Spring, MD

    NOAA - Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management - Provides national leadership, strategic direction and guidance to state and territory coastal programs and estuarine research reserves.   The Office is composed of six divisions: Coastal Programs, Estuarine Reserves, National Policy and Evaluation, Business Management, MPA Center, and the Coral Program.

    NOAA - Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory - Carries out interdisciplinary scientific investigations in oceanography and atmospheric science.   Current PMEL programs focus on open ocean observations in support of long-term monitoring and prediction of the ocean environment on time scales from minutes to decades - Seattle, WA

    NOAA - PORTS® (Physical Oceanographic Real-time Systems) for Delaware Bay

    NOAA - PORTS® (Physical Oceanographic Real-time Systems) for New York / New Jersey

    NOAA - SARSAT 406 EPIRB Information - The SARSAT system uses NOAA satellites in low-earth and geostationary orbits to detect and locate mariners in distress.   The satellites relay distress signals from shipboard emergency beacons to a network of ground stations and ultimately to the US Mission Control Center.   The USMCC processes the data and alerts the appropriate search and rescue authorities - Suitland, MD

    NOAA - Tides Online - Storm Surge Information

    US Coast Guard (USCG) Sites:

    USCG - Home Page

    USCG Atlantic Area - Headquartered in Portsmouth, VA, the LantArea Command Center coordinates homeland security,  law enforcement, and rescue missions that occur on the high seas across and outside district boundaries.

    USCG First District - Headquartered in Boston, MA, the First District has jurisdiction in the waters of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Vermont (Lake Champlain), Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, to the Shrewsbury River, New Jersey.

            Sector New York - Staten Island, NY

            Station Jones Beach - Freeport, NY

            Sector Long Island Sound - New Haven, CT

            Sector Field Office Moriches - Moriches, NY

            Station Montauk - Montauk, NY

    USCG Fifth District - Headquartered in Portsmouth, VA, the Fifth District has jurisdiction in the waters of the Shrewsbury River, New Jersey to Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, District of Columbia and North Carolina.

            Air Station Atlantic City - Atlantic City International Airport, NJ

            Sector Delaware Bay - Philadelphia, PA

            Sector Baltimore - Baltimore, MD

            Sector Field Office Cape Hatteras - Nags Head, NC

            Sector Hampton Roads - Portsmouth, VA

    USCG Seventh District - Headquartered in Miami, FL, the Seventh District has jurisdiction in the waters of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida to 83°50'W, and Puerto Rico and adjacent islands of the United States.

    USCG Eighth District - Headquartered in New Orleans, LA, the Eighth District has jurisdiction in the waters of Florida westward from 83°50'W, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, the Mississippi River System except that portion of the Illinois River north of Joliet, Illinois.

    USCG Ninth District - Headquartered in Cleveland, OH, the Ninth District has jurisdiction in the waters of Great Lakes and St .Lawrence River above St. Regis River.

    USCG Eleventh District - Headquartered in Alameda, CA, the Eleventh District has jurisdiction in the waters of California.

    USCG Thirteenth District - Headquartered in Seattle, WA, the Thirteenth District has jurisdiction in the waters of Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.

    USCG Fourteenth District - Headquartered in New Orleans, LA, the Eighth District has jurisdiction in the waters of Hawaiian, American Samoa, Marshall, Marianas and Caroline Islands.

    USCG Seventeenth District - Headquartered in Juneau, AK, the Seventeenth District has jurisdiction in the waters of Alaska.

    USCG Boating Safety Division - Dedicated to reducing loss of life, injuries, and property damage that occur on U.S. waterways by improving the knowledge, skills, and abilities of recreational boaters.   Learn how to prevent accidents, injuries, and fatalities while boating.   Review safety tips, news, recalls, defects, and laws and regulations you should know.

    USCG Navigation Center - Whether you navigate using GPS, DGPS, LORAN-C, or good-old-fashioned paper charts and a sextant, we want to provide you with information that will help you fix your position! - Alexandria, VA

            Local Notice to Mariners (LMNs) for the First District - Monthly edition and weekly supplements for the coastal
            waters from Eastport, ME southward to Shrewsbury, NJ - USCG Navigation Center

            Local Notice to Mariners (LNMs) for the Fifth District - Monthly edition and weekly supplements for the coastal
            waters from Shrewsbury, NJ southward to Little River SC - USCG Navigation Center

            Local Notice to Mariners (LNMs) for the Seventh District - Monthly edition and weekly supplements for the
            coastal waters of the USCG Seventh District - USCG Navigation Center

            USCG Navigation Rules Online - A combined list of the International and Inland Navigation Rules and
            Regulations also known as the Rules of the Road or the Nav Rules.

            USCG Light Lists - These publications contain a list of lights, sound signals, buoys, daybeacons, and other aids to navigation for each
            Coast Guard District.

    USCG Rescue 21 - Rescue 21 is the United States Coast Guard's advanced command, control and communications system.   Created to improve the ability to assist mariners in distress and save lives and property at sea, the system is currently being installed in stages across the United States.

    NATIONAL SALTWATER ANGLER REGISTRY - NOAA Fisheries MARINE RECREATIONAL INFORMATION PROGRAM or MRIP, is a new tool that will help NOAA and anglers work together to help ensure the long-term sustainability of America's recreational fisheries and the health of our oceans.   This is the mandatory federal registry for saltwater anglers if you live in a state that does not require a state saltwater fishing license.   You can register online starting January 1, 2010; there is no charge to register and it only takes a couple of minutes to complete.  You will be mailed a registration card that is valid for one year.

    FDA Regulatory Fish Encyclopedia - A searchable compendium of more than 1,500 species of finfish and shellfish important in the U.S.   It includes Approved Market Names, Common Names, Scientific Names, and Vernacular (local) Names - U.S. Food & Drug Administration,  Silver Spring, MD

    FDA/CFSAN Seafood Information and Resources - A compendium of information on Foodborne Pathogens and Contaminants, Inspection, Compliance, Imports and Exports, and Federal and State Programs - U.S. Food & Drug Administration,  Silver Spring, MD and Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, College Park, MD

    Federal Communications Commission (FCC) - An independent United States government agency.   The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 and is charged with regulating interstate and international communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable - Washington, DC

    Federal Register - The official daily publication for Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as Executive Orders and other Presidential Documents dating from 1994 to present.  (Try the search engine with  "Tuna", "Bass" or "Flounder")

    Fisheries and Oceans Canada * Pêches et Océans Canada - The lead federal government department responsible for developing and implementing policies and programs in support of Canada's economic, ecological and scientific interests in oceans and inland waters - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

    ICCAT International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: Fisheries research and management

    Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (of UNESCO) - IOC

    Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act - Public Law 94-265 as amended through January 12, 2007

    National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) - Develops imagery and map-based intelligence solutions for U.S. national defense, homeland security and safety of navigation.   Geospatial intelligence consists of imagery, imagery intelligence and geospatial (e.g., mapping, charting and geodesy) information.   Included are a variety of Hydrographic and Bathymetric products.

    NIC (Navigation Information Connection) - Over 1,750 links and 3,500 photos associated with the US Inland Waterway System - US Army Corps of Engineers

    Northeast Multispecies Information Sheet for Charter / Party and Recreational Fishing - This summary is not a substitute for regulations; rather it provides a broad overview of restrictions and requirements.

    Sustainable Fisheries Act - On October 11, 1996 the Sustainable Fisheries Act (SFA) became law.   The SFA amended the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.   SFA amendments and changes include numerous provisions requiring science, management and conservation action by the NMFS

    THOMAS - US Congress on the Internet - In the spirit of Thomas Jefferson, legislative information from the Library of Congress

    Transportation Worker Identification Credential (TWIC™) - The TWIC is a biometric card that ensures a mariner is vetted and it is mandatory for all USCG credentialed mariners.   You can pre-enroll, find an enrollment center and schedule an appointment at this site.   The TWIC is administered by the Transportation Security Administration, a component of the Department of Homeland Security

    US Army Corps of Engineers - Provides vital public engineering services in peace and war to strengthen our Nation’s security, energize the economy, and reduce risks from disasters - Washington, DC

    US Coast Guard Auxiliary - The uniformed, volunteer civilian component of the Coast Guard, established by Congress in 1939 to assist in promoting boating safety.  It boasts nearly 38,000 members from all walks of life who receive special training so that they may be an integral part of Team Coast Guard.   Auxiliarists assist the Coast Guard in non-law enforcement programs such as public boating education, Vessel Safety Checks, on-water safety patrols, search and rescue and marine environmental protection.   Auxiliarists donate more than 2 million hours annually to benefit other boaters and their families.  That’s why they’re called America's Volunteer Lifesavers.

    US Coast Guard Auxiliary Float Plan Central - Complete a float plan before you go boating and leave it with a reliable person who you can depend upon to notify the Coast Guard should you not return or check-in as scheduled.  The float plan is a lifesaving device on paper and you can download a copy of their "Millennium Edition" Float Plan™.  Organized for a logical and convenient flow of information, this one-page document is extremely easy to prepare and use.

    US Coast Guard Auxiliary First District Southern Region - Flotillas in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut and Vermont

    US Coast Guard Auxiliary First District Southern Region Division 2 - Sandy Hook, NJ

    US Customs and Border Protection - Know before you go on that fishing trip to a foreign country!   The Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative will soon require all travelers to and from the Americas, the Caribbean, and Bermuda to have a passport or other accepted form of documentation to enter or reenter the United States.   December 31, 2006: Requirement applied to all air and sea travel to or from Canada, Mexico, Central and South America, the Caribbean, and Bermuda.   December 31, 2007: Requirement extended to all land border crossings as well as air and sea travel.

    US Environmental Protection Agency - Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds - We all live in a watershed, the area that drains to a common waterway, such as a stream, lake, estuary, wetland, aquifer, or even the ocean.   And our individual actions can directly affect it.

    US Environmental Protection Agency - River Corridor and Wetland Restoration - Excellent resource for information about wetlands restoration, creation and enhancement

    US Fish & Wildlife Service - A bureau within the Department of the Interior.   Their mission is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.

    US Geological Survey - Non indigenous Aquatic Species - An information resource for the United States Geological Survey.   Located at the Florida Integrated Science Center, this site has been established as a central repository for spatially referenced biogeographic accounts of nonindigenous aquatic species

    US GLOBEC Georges Bank Information - This program is a large multi-disciplinary, multi-year oceanographic effort.   The proximate goal is to understand the population dynamics of key species on the Bank - Cod, Haddock, and two species of zooplankton in terms of their coupling to the physical environment and in terms of their predators and prey.   The ultimate goal is to be able to predict changes in the distribution and abundance of these species as a result of changes in their physical and biotic environment as well as to anticipate how their populations might respond to climate change.

    US Naval Observatory - One of the oldest scientific agencies in the country.   Established in 1830 as the Depot of Charts and Instruments, its primary mission was to care for the U.S. Navy's chronometers, charts and other navigational equipment.   Today, USNO is the preeminent authority in the areas of Precise Time and Astrometry, and distributes Earth Orientation parameters and other Astronomical Data required for accurate navigation and fundamental astronomy - Washington, DC