The role of the Committee, established in 1981, is to provide the Massachusetts Division of Fisheries & Wildlife and the Fisheries and Wildlife Board with independent scientific advice on the conservation and protection of over 400 species of wild plants and animals that are not hunted, fished, or trapped. In addition, the Committee advises the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program on matters such as promotion of the Natural Heritage Fund and funding priorities for biological field research and inventory, as well as other issues concerning the protection of biodiversity in Massachusetts. The Fisheries and Wildlife Board first established the Committee in 1981. It was given official status under state law in 1983 (MGL c131, s5B) as the Non-Game Advisory Committee. In 2002, legislation changed the Committee's name to its current title in order to more accurately reflect the Committee's role.