The National Marine Fisheries Service has three operational arms reporting to the NMFS assistant administrator: regulatory programs, administration and law enforcement, and research. There are also various councils, committees and an office dedicated to international fishing issues.
The regulatory arm is headed by the deputy assistant administrator for regulatory programs. Underneath the administrator are six regional offices for implementing policy, coordinating programs and dispersing funds to local, state and regional partners:
The Office of Sustainable Fisheries
has a unit for the day-to-day, administrative tasks of regulating, and a unit for working with other federal agencies. According to the NMFS Web site, it also oversees and supports the regional fishery management councils (see Regional Fishery Management Councils below). The office makes sure council appointments follow regulations, it processes appointment paperwork, it trains new council members and it meets twice a year with the Council Coordination Committee.
The Office of Protected Resources
promulgates regulations to protect certain types of sea life and habitats under the Marine Mammal Protection and Endangered Species acts. It also coordinates its activities with the regional offices, the science centers and other organizations.
The Office of Habitat Conservation
works with private interests, academia and other government institutions to provide healthy habitats for fisheries and protected species.
Administration and Law Enforcement
The administrative and law enforcement arm of the NMFS is headed by the deputy assistant administrator for operations, who has oversight of six divisions.
According to the NMFS Web site, the Office of Policy
“administers and monitors” the Policy Directives System, which “translates the ideas, goals or principles contained in the NMFS mission, vision and strategic plan into action-related directives.”
The Seafood Inspection Program
ensures compliance with food-safety regulations at all stages of seafood harvesting, processing and sales.
The NMFS research arm is headed by the director of scientific programs and chief science advisor. The director has ultimate authority over six regional centers that provide relevant scientific data to policy makers and the Office of Science and Technology
, which vets research and produces statistics. The six regional centers are:
Regional Fishery Management Councils
The Magnuson-Stevens Act of 1976 established eight regional fishery management councils. Each council recommends measures for the exclusive economic zone in their geographical area, with the NMFS retaining final say over implementation. The commerce secretary appoints council members. The eight regions are:
The 2006 amendment to the Magnuson-Stevens Act also established a Council Coordination Committee made up of the chairs, vice chairs and executive directors of the regional councils, in order to debate issues affecting them all.
Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee
Office of International Affairs
The NMFS Office of International Affairs
coordinates policy with other countries, advocates for U.S. interests and serves as a spokesperson on global issues. The office also participates in free-trade negotiations.
, from the NMFS Web site
, from the NMFS Web site