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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:

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.