2.2.1 National Marine Fisheries Service

The National Marine Fisheries Service[1] (NMFS), an agency within National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the U.S. Department of Commerce, manages, conserves, and protects living marine resources that spend at least part of their life cycle within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone.[2]  NMFS administers several statutes that bear on licensing decisions.  Under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), NMFS may establish Reasonable and Prudent Alternatives or Measures to prevent project take of marine animals or diadromous fish listed under the ESA.  Under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act,[3] NMFS consults with FERC on any licensing action that may adversely affect essential fish habitat (EFH) for diadromous fish.  Under FPA section 18,[4] NMFS may prescribe a fishway as a mandatory license condition to protect diadromous fish.  Under the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA),[5] a license for a project in the coastal zone may issue only if the State certifies the license as consistent with the CZMA Program as approved by the U.S. Department of Commerce.  Under the Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act (FWCA)[6] and FPA section 10(j),[7] NMFS recommends conditions to protect, mitigate damages to, and enhance fish and wildlife, including related spawning grounds and habitat.  Under FPA section 10(a), NMFS recommends other conditions to ensure that a project is best adapted to comprehensive plans for developmental and non-developmental resources.


[1]               See the NMFS website, at www.nmfs.noaa/gov.

[2]               See Reorganization Plan No. 4 of 1970, section 1, codified at 5 U.S.C. app. 1.

[3]               16 U.S.C. § 1801 et seq.

[4]               16 U.S.C. § 811.

[5]               16 U.S.C. § 1451 et seq.

[6]               16 U.S.C. § 661 et seq.

[7]               16 U.S.C. § 803(j).