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AFSC Historical Corner: Alaska Fisheries Federal Agency Timeline

Agency Timeline
Early Pioneers
Research and Mgmt.
 An independent aquatic species investigative agency
1871    U.S. Commission of Fish & Fisheries
1888    U.S. Fish Commission (renamed)
 Dept. of Commerce (and Labor) (DOC) - 1903
1903    U.S. Bureau of Fisheries
 Dept. of the Interior (DOI) - 1939
1940    Fish & Wildlife Service
 DOI / U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - 1956
1956    Bureau of Commercial Fisheries
 DOC / National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration / National Marine Fisheries Service - 1970 
1971    North Pacific Fisheries Research Center
Northwest Fisheries Center
(renamed in November)
1976    Northwest & Alaska Fisheries Center
1990    Alaska Fisheries Science Center

Agency names in bold
1871 The United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries (U.S. Fish Commission) is established as the first Federal agency concerned with natural resource conservation.
1888 20 January -- Congress establishes the U.S. Fish Commission as an independent agency of the Federal government and terminates its administrative relationship with the Smithsonian Institution. Marshall McDonald is appointed Commissioner at a salary of $5,000 per year.
1903 1 July -- the U.S. Fish Commission is reorganized as the United States Bureau of Fisheries (BOF) and becomes part of the newly created United States Department of Commerce and Labor. The BOF assumes other fishery-related functions, including control over the Alaskan fur seal from the Department of the Treasury.
1911 1 July -- the Alaska Fisheries Service is formally organized as a division of the Bureau of Fisheries and is directly responsible for the conservation of all Alaska's commercially valuable wildlife.
1914 The Department of Labor is separated from the Department of Commerce (DOC). The DOC retains the BOF.
1939 3 April -- the BOF is transferred from the DOC to the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI).
1940 30 June -- the BOF merges with the Bureau of Biological Survey as part of the DOI's Fish and Wildlife Service.
1956 The Bureau of Commercial Fisheries (BCF) -- a descendant of the BOF -- is created under the new U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
1970 3 October -- the BCF becomes the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) as part of the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the DOC.
1971 The North Pacific Fisheries Research Center (NPFRC) is established as one of four major National offshore fisheries research centers under NMFS. On 28 November, the NPFRC is renamed the Northwest Fisheries Center (NWFC). The NWFC in Seattle is composed of a Center Director's Office and five divisions: the Marine Fish, Shellfish, and Oceanography Division; the Coastal Zone and Estuarine Studies (CZES) Division; the Fisheries Data and Management Systems (FD&MS) Division; the Environmental Conservation (EC) Division; and the Marine Mammal Management and Monitoring Division.
1974 1 July -- the Auke Bay Laboratory (ABL) in Alaska becomes a part of the NWFC as a separate division.
1975 23 November -- the Marine Fish and Shellfish Division is split into the Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering (RACE) and Resource Ecology and Fisheries Management (REFM) Divisions.
1976 1 October -- the NWFC Center officially becomes the Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Center (NWAFC) as a result of the Auke Bay Laboratory joining the Center. The existing technological laboratories in Seattle and Alaska are combined to form the Utilization Research (UR) Division.
1979 1 February -- the NWAFC's Marine Mammal Division is designated as the National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML).
1990 The NWAFC is divided into the Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) and Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC). The AFSC is made up of the ABL, NMML, OFIS (Office of Fisheries Information Systems), RACE, and REFM Divisions.
2005 21 August -- REFM's North Pacific Groundfish Observer Program formally becomes the Fisheries Monitoring and Analysis (FMA) Division as part of the AFSC.

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