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What We Do
Enforcement Officer Scott Adams in the Northeast Division rescues an injured harbor seal pup.
NOAA’s Office of Law Enforcement protects marine wildlife and habitat by enforcing domestic laws and international treaty requirements designed to ensure these global resources are available for future generations. Our special agents and enforcement officers ensure compliance with the nation’s marine resource laws and take enforcement action when these laws are violated.
Our work helps to:
- Sustain fish stocks for commercial, recreational, tribal, and U.S. territorial users.
- Prevent the illegal, unregulated, and unreported harvesting and trafficking of fish and wildlife.
- Protect marine mammals and endangered species.
- Maintain and restore marine and inland water habitats.
- Support vibrant coastal communities.
- Conserve coral reefs and marine protected areas.
- Provide a level playing field for all industry participants.
- Hold accountable those who violate the law.
While we work to enforce the laws, the Office of the General Counsel is NOAA’s civil prosecutor. Together, we make up NOAA’s Enforcement Program and work with other NOAA program offices to establish national law enforcement policy.
The U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Attorney’s Office serve as legal advisors and prosecutorial partners in criminal matters. Go to our partners page to learn more about how we work with others to protect marine resources.
All our work supports the core mission mandates of NOAA Fisheries—maximizing productivity of sustainable fisheries and fishing communities and protection, recovery, and conservation of protected species.