Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Program
Conserving America's Fisheries

Native Species

FWCO biologists release an 80 inch long Alligator gar. Photo: USFWS

FWCO biologists release an 80 inch long Alligator gar.



Working with partners, Fish and Wildlife Conservation Offices (FWCOs) restore and maintain fish and other aquatic resources for the benefit of the American public, helping ensure that these resources stay among the richest and most diverse in the world.

Fisheries science is an integrative approach to understanding the biology, ecology, and economics of a fished species with the goal of sustainable management. Fisheries science is an integral component of the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Program. We:

  • conduct stock assessments
  • monitor population levels and responses to environmental changes
  • map habitat usage
  • identify pathogens and diseases
  • evaluate population structure using genetics

FWCO biologists tags a female horseshoe crab on Bowers Beach, DE. Photo: USFWS

FWCO biologists tags a female horseshoe crab on Bowers Beach, DE.



In managing our nation’s fisheries, FWCOs ensure that these vital resources are available for Americans now and in the generations to come. FWCO biologists are proud to have played a critical role in the protection and recovery of many species, including Apache trout. Added to the endangered species list in 1967, the Apache trout was down-listed to threatened and is currently on the verge of becoming the first Federally-threatened fish to be delisted as a result of recovery efforts. In 2008, biologists from the Arizona Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office reintroduced Apache trout into two streams, augmented two additional populations, restored 9 miles of habitat, and mechanically removed non-native trout from four streams. Self-sustaining populations now exist in 21 streams, comprising over 140 miles of historic habitat.


FWCOs apply scientific data to focus conservation activities on high-priority species and watersheds. We are committed to protecting and maintaining stable populations and healthy habitats and restoring degraded systems and depleted populations. Almost 400 aquatic species have ore need protection. In our 65 field offices, we work with over a quarter of those species directly. For example, lake sturgeon were once abundant and still remain an important component of the Great Lakes ecosystem. In 2008, Green Bay NWFCO staff led the development of a comprehensive lake sturgeon rehabilitation plan for Lake Michigan to support and coordinate ongoing recovery efforts.

Last updated: April 17, 2012