National Seabird Program

NOAA Fisheries' National Seabird Program was created in 2001 to protect seabirds (and migratory birds in general). The impetus for the program's creation was two, then new, directives: The National Plan of Action for Reducing the Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries, and Executive Order 13186, "Responsibilities of Federal Agencies to Protect Migratory Birds". Both provided guidance for NOAA Fisheries to work domestically and internationally to address seabird bycatch problems through a nationally-coordinated program that is implemented throughout all NOAA Fisheries regions.

Since its creation, the National Seabird Program has grown to embrace two primary goals. 1) Mitigate Bycatch - NOAA Fisheries is directly responsible for mitigating bycatch in US fisheries, and supports a variety of international agreements and Regional Fisheries Management Organizations with bycatch mitigation goals. 2) Promote Seabirds as Ecosystem Indicators - Seabirds are excellent indicators of ecosystem state. As highly migratory, near-apex predators, they integrate across trophic levels, space, and time, and are easily studied relative to other marine species.

The National Seabird Program has representatives in all six NOAA Fisheries science centers, all five Regional Offices, and six Headquarters Offices. National Seabird Program representatives also sit on various working groups and steering committees focused on national and international coordination of efforts to manage and conserve seabirds.


History, Mission, Goals, Roles

  • NOAA Fisheries National Seabird Program Fact Sheet
  • Memorandum from William Hogarth dated 27 September 2001 establishing NMFS Seabird Program to protect seabirds and other migratory birds; Kim Rivera appointed Coordinator.
  • Memorandum from Ned Cyr, James Lecky, Emily Menashes, and James Balsiger dated 19 January 2011 transferring ownership of seabird program from Headquarters Office of Protected Resources to Office of Science and Technology, reinforcing that the program exists to protect seabirds while adding the directive to focus on seabirds as ecological indicators; Memorandum refers to 2009 National Seabird Workshop and resulting National Seabird Strategic Plan.
  • Memorandum from Ned Cyr, James Balsiger, and Francisco Werner dated 2 November 2015 formalizing transfer of National Seabird Coordinator role to Lisa Ballance; Memorandum outlines Coordinator roles and responsibilities and outlines general priorities for 2016-2019.

National Seabird Team

National Initiatives

Regional Action

Additional Seabird Management, Conservation, Science

Reports and Presentations