The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is exploring the possibility of relocating the Northeast Fisheries Science Center to a new facility outside of Woods Hole.

NOAA’s chief of research communications Teri Frady said Monday that the United States Department of Commerce, which oversees the NEFSC, has been evaluating the feasibility of the existing facility for about a year. She said a report will be completed by spring 2016 outlining options for the facility, which could include moving operations to a new building outside of Woods Hole.

The fisheries center, which operates as a research division of NOAA Fisheries, was founded by Spencer Fullerton Baird upon his appointment by President Ulysses S. Grant as the country’s first fisheries commissioner in 1871. The original facility was built on Water Street in 1885. After the facility was destroyed during Hurricane Carol, the current building was constructed in the same location in 1961.

Today, the Woods Hole branch manages operations of four other fisheries laboratories in the northeast, including those in Sandy Hook, New Jersey; Milford, Connecticut; Narragansett, Rhode Island; and Orono, Maine.

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