Fisheries Ecology Division

Santa Cruz LabThe Fisheries Ecology Division is housed in the NMFS Santa Cruz Laboratory on UCSC’s Coastal Science Campus. Research is focused on California demersal and anadromous fishes, their fisheries, and their habitats. Demersal species under study include rockfishes, flatfishes, Pacific whiting, sablefish, and lingcod; anadromous species include coho and chinook salmon, steelhead, and green sturgeon. Results of this research are used by the Pacific Fishery Management Council to manage fisheries and by NMFS to manage threatened and endangered species and their habitats. Fisheries Ecology Division scientists study causes of variability in abundance and health of fish populations, analyze ecological relations in marine communities, and study the economics of exploiting and protecting natural resources. They also assess the stocks of species targeted by various fisheries, and assist in evaluating potential impacts of human activities on threatened or endangered species.

Research programs

Division News

Protected Waters Foster Resurgence of West Coast Rockfish

Adult bocaccio photographed by remotely operated vehicle. Photo Advanced Survey Technologies, Fisheries Resources Division, SWFSC. West Coast rockfish species in deep collapse only 20

Researchers Study Response of the Carmel River and Steelhead Following Removal of San Clemente Dam

SWFSC Fisheries Ecology Division researcher Tommy Williams and team returned to the Carmel River to survey juvenile steelhead after the 2015 removal of the San Clemente Dam and the epic rains last winter.

SWFSC Joins Partnership to Restore Salmon and Steelhead Habitat

The Fisheries Ecology Division has joined in the new Central Valley Salmon Habitat Partnership that will work to build robust fisheries and self-sustaining wild populations of Central Valley salmonids through science-based habitat restoration.

Measuring Whales from the Air – Hexacopter Photogrammetry of Cook Inlet Beluga Whales

For the first time, an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), a hexacopter, is being used to collect photographs of the endangered Cook Inlet beluga whale to estimate the length of individual whales and learn more about why it has been slow

Fishermen See ‘Science in Action’ Aboard NOAA Survey Ship

Each spring and early summer, scientists set out along the West Coast aboard NOAA vessel Reuben Lasker to survey coastal pelagic species, or CPS, which includes small schooling fish such as northern anchovy, Pacific sardine, and jack and Pacific mackerels. 

Tracking Antarctic Penguins Using Chemical Signatures

NOAA Fisheries researchers are tracking Antarctic penguins using chemical signatures read more here.