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Partnerships in Essential Fish Habitat Protection

NOAA Fisheries partners with the eight regional fishery management councils that are responsible for identifying and describing EFH for federally managed species in their region. The fishery management councils and NOAA Fisheries describe EFH for each life stage of each species, provide maps of their EFH, designate especially vulnerable habitats called Habitat Areas of Particular Concern, and minimize adverse effects of fishing on EFH.

The regional fishery management councils are:

  • New England Fishery Management Council
  • Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council
  • South Atlantic Fishery Management Council
  • Caribbean Fishery Management Council
  • Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council
  • Pacific Fishery Management Council
  • Western Pacific Fishery Management Council
  • North Pacific Fishery Management Council

NOAA Fisheries partners with federal agencies every year on hundreds of projects, ranging from port expansions to offshore energy development. Working together to conserve Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) has proven valuable to avoid damaging important habitats for commercial and recreational fisheries. Our agreements help to maximize the benefits for fisheries and provide improved construction and implementation plans for economically important projects throughout the nation.

In addition to consulting with NOAA Fisheries, many of our federal agency partners implement research and monitoring programs during and after construction. This information provides a better understanding of habitats and the species that use them, and it uncovers more cost-effective alternatives for project construction.

Some of the federal agencies we work with to protect EFH are:

  • U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
  • U.S. Coast Guard
  • U.S. Navy
  • Bureau of Ocean Energy Management
  • Federal Highway Administration
  • Federal Transit Administration
  • Environmental Protection Agency