A driver swims toward the surface, away from a school of fish Photographer: LCDR Eric Johnson, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Corps. (Original Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Photo Library)

Our Mission

The Office of Marine Conservation (OES/OMC) formulates and implements U.S. policy on a broad range of international marine conservation issues in order to ensure economic prosperity and security through healthy, sustainably managed fisheries in the oceans and Great Lakes.

Key Topics

International Fisheries Management

The U.S. is a member or observer of many regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), treaty-based multilateral bodies and other bilateral, regional, and global organizations that oversee the cooperative sustainable management of shared fish stocks and other living marine resources. OMC also engages in a number of other bilateral and regional cooperation arrangements on fisheries.

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Illegal, Unreported, and Unregulated Fishing

As the largest single-country market for fish and fish products, the third largest wild seafood producer, and the fifth largest exporter of fish and fish products, the U.S. has a particularly strong stake in combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing. The Department of State coordinates closely with other federal agencies to implement domestic and international actions related to combatting IUU fishing.

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Addressing Fisheries at the Global Level

Conserving and managing shared fisheries resources requires international cooperation, multilateral diplomacy, and information sharing. The U.S. engages through international organizations and agreements focused on the conservation and management of living marine resources, which provide a forum for States to discuss international fisheries issues, and to develop approaches for addressing them.

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Bycatch and Environmental Impacts of Fishing

The Department of State, with other federal agencies, works bilaterally, regionally, and globally to adopt strong measures to reduce the bycatch of juvenile fish and vulnerable non-target species, particularly sea turtles, seabirds, and dolphins, and level the playing field for the U.S. industry by promoting our best practices and advocating for the international adoption of measures that match our high domestic standards.

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Sea Turtles, Shrimp Imports and Section 609

The U.S. works to conserve and protect sea turtles through the promotion of turtle excluder devices, membership and participation in international conventions and agreements, and the annual certification of shrimp-harvesting nations that do so without adversely affecting endangered sea turtles, rendering that shrimp eligible for entry into the U.S.

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U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future