Like all coastal states, the U.S. maintains an ‘Exclusive Economic Zone’ (EEZ) that extends up to 200 nautical miles from the coastline. Within this zone, the U.S. has exclusive rights to fishing and marine resources – but is also responsible for preserving the marine ecosystem and upholding sustainable fishing standards.
The National Marine Fisheries Service leads U.S. fisheries management by conducting scientific research, enforcing laws and overseeing habitat conservation. It is part of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
As part of NOAA, the National Marine Fisheries Service works with other government entities to fulfill its duties such as NOAA Fisheries Office for Law Enforcement and the U.S. Coast Guard for law enforcement, NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research for habitat conservation and NOAA Office of Sustainable Fisheries to maintain healthy fish stocks.
The U.S. also works with other international organizations, like the U.N. and RFMOs, to create and enforce international fishing regulations, combat illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, build partnerships to improve marine conservation, control fishing capacity, increase assistance to developing states and strengthen regional fisheries conservation.