Department of Commerce National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Department of Commerce
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

NOAA's Efforts to Reduce Adverse Impacts of Fishing on Coral Reef Ecosystems

Overfishing is one of the most common threats to coral reef ecosystems worldwide.  NOAA strives to increase stakeholder awareness and participation in fishery management, and to strengthen permitting and enforcement of current regulations. The National Action Strategy (NAS) calls for reducing adverse impacts of fishing and increasing sustainable management of coral reef fisheries through improved scientific information, coordination, enforcement and management approaches. 

The NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program has conducted numerous research and management activities in an effort to reduce the adverse impacts of fishing.  As part of this effort, NOAA scientists are working to identify and protect important fish spawning aggregations in coral reef areas.  NOAA also conducts research to better understand connectivity, habitat utilization patterns, and essential fish habitats for commercially important species in coral reef ecosystems.  Projects are also underway to increase the effectiveness of management efforts to reduce overfishing and to minimize the impacts of fishing gear on coral reef ecosystems.  NOAA researchers also conduct socioeconomic studies of commercial and recreational fishing activities in coral reef areas.

In addition, NOAA supports efforts to increase awareness and enforcement of fisheries and other laws in coral reef areas, and supports the efforts of the regional fishery management councils to incorporate ecosystem-scale management techniques into their fishery management plans for reef areas.

Categories of Activities

Identify and Protect Spawning Aggregations
Reduce Impacts of Overfishing and Gear on Reefs
Socioeconomic Studies of Fishing Impacts on Reefs
Management Implementation to Reduce Fishing Impacts on Reefs
Support Fisheries Enforcement and Outreach
Understand Connectivity, Habitat Utilization, and Essential Fish Habitats