Welcome to our Fisheries Historical page.
This is where it all started, right here in
Woods Hole, Massachusetts
We Have Been Conserving America's Living Oceans Since 1871
The Nation's first Federal conservation agency, initiated in 1871, was
devoted to the protection, study, management, and restoration of fish. This
agency was the United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries, which was
usually just called the Fish Commission.
Later it was renamed the Bureau of Fisheries, and still later
it became the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries. Today its direct
descendant is NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS)
or just NOAA Fisheries.
Woods Hole, as a center of marine science, was conceived and implemented
largely by one man, Spencer Fullerton Baird, at that time Assistant Secretary
of the Smithsonian. He was appointed by President
Ulysses S. Grant in 1871 as the first U.S. Commissioner of Fisheries.
research began in Woods Hole as early as 1871, but a permanent station did not exist until 1885.
Search Fisheries websites for more on Spencer Baird
Be sure and take a tour of the historical timeline at the top of the page to learn more.