Fisheries Resources Division
Director: Russ Vetter, Ph.D.
We develop the scientific foundation for the conservation and management of marine resources in the California Current and Pan-Pacific Pelagic Ecosystems. We serve the public and contribute information to management organizations and the scientific community.
The work of FRD is organized into four functional groups: Ecosystem Monitoring, Fish Ecology, Analysis and Synthesis, and Communication and Administration.
Cross-cutting these functional groups are four research programs: Coastal Pelagic Species, Highly Migratory Species, West Coast Groundfish, and Abalone.
SWFSC scientists have prepared a downloadable fact sheet on thresher sharks and their fisheries. The common thresher shark is the most important commercial shark species in the U.S. west coast highly migratory species fisheries. Threshers are caught primarily in the California-based drift gillnet (DGN) fishery that was first established west coast-wide to target thresher sharks in the late 1970s. By the mid 1980s the fishery had shifted its focus to more lucrative swordfish. The shift was the result of both economics and regulations to protect pupping female thresher sharks (PFMC 2003). Since that time, threshers have only occasionally been targeted secondarily or caught incidentally in the DGN fishery. For more information visit the common thresher shark page of the Highly Migratory Species Program.
NOAA Fisheries Tags the First Basking Shark in the Pacific Ocean
On Sunday, June 6th, 2010, eight miles offshore from San Diego, California, Dr. John Hyde, the supervisor of FRD's Molecular Genetics program, and Owyn Snodgrass, a member of the FRD Large Pelagics Program, successfully tagged a basking shark, the first time this has been done in the Pacific Ocean. Satellite technology will be used to track the movements of basking sharks and determine how oceanography influences where they go and what they do. The tags will record temperature and depth throughout the track allowing us to look at habitat use. To determine the shark’s locations the tag will both link to GPS satellites when it is at the surface and record light levels which will allow us to estimate latitude and longitude.
Learn more about the project here...
Watch a video of the tagging effort.
Photo credit: Gregory B. Skomal
Follow the NOAA Ship PISCES on a Deep-Sea Coral Exploration
Join FRD scientists aboard the NOAA Ship PISCES by following the scientists' daily logs as they document their seven-day cruise to explore deep sea corals using a remotely-operated vehicle off the coast of Georgia. These corals are found between 350 and 900 meters below the surface, and provide important habitat and feeding grounds for a wide variety of marine life, including wreckfish, golden crab, and royal red shrimp. The cruise begins on April 8 and continues through April 14. You can also follow the scientists along their journey using the interactive map...(more).
FRD Staff Contribute to Improved Near-Real-Time Tracking of 2010 El Niño
The ongoing El Niño of 2010 is affecting north Pacific Ocean ecosystems in ways that could affect the West Coast fishing industry, according to scientists at NOAA and Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego.
Researchers with the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) at Scripps and NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center report a stronger than normal northward movement of warm water up the Southern California coast, a high sea-level event in January and low abundances of plankton and pelagic fish — all conditions consistent with El Niño (see El Niño images in Scripps Research Focus article).
Sea surface temperatures along the entire West Coast are 0.5 to 1 degree Celsius (0.9 to 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) warmer than normal and at points off Southern California are as much as 1.6 degrees Celsius (2.9 degrees Fahrenheit) higher than normal. The most unusually high temperatures were mapped around Catalina and San Clemente islands. While strong winter storms caused an increase in coastal sea levels, scientists are investigating whether the higher sea levels are primarily a result of El Niño, a cyclical phenomenon characterized by warming eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean waters. Continue reading...
State-of-the-Art Technology Development Tank
Plans for the new SWFSC laboratory in La Jolla are rapidly advancing with construction expected to begin in 2010. The building will incorporate a large sea- and fresh-water Ocean Technology Development Tank. With world-class facility, the SWFSC will be able to continue its pioneering work in the development and use of acoustical and optical technologies for non-lethal surveys of protected and managed species and for the detection of near-surface fish schools (such as sardine) during ship-based surveys. The test tank will support ecosystem-based fisheries management through new or innovative uses of technologies, including the use of novel platforms for deploying optical and acoustic sensors, such as inexpensive instrumented buoys, instrumented small craft, remotely operated vehicles (ROV) and autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV), gliders, untethered profilers, drifters and floats.
2006 Coast-Wide Sardine Survey videos aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Dyson.
The following are 3-minute video segments describing different aspects of the survey viewed as Windows Streaming Media format (WMV).
Marine Mammals and Seabirds
Continuous Underway Fish Egg Sampler: CUFES
15 minute, high quality video