SWFSC scientists develop the scientific foundation for the conservation and management of coastal pelagic fisheries resources in the California Current pelagic ecosystem. Coastal pelagic species (CPS) includes a broad range of species that share most of the following characteristics: relatively short-lives, high reproductive potential, responsivity to climatic change, schooling or swarming behavior, inhabit the upper-mixed layer; they are considered prey for a wide range of vertebrate predators (e.g. fish, marine mammals, seabirds, and turtles). CPS includes a broad range of fishes in several different taxonomic groups as well as invertebrates such as krill and squid which collectively comprise a critical component in the natural economy of the California Current ecosystem.
Fisheries Research Division scientistis in the Coastal Pelagic Lab at the SWFSC work jointly with California Department of Fish and Game to conduct socio-economic, stock assessments and recruitment research in support of management of Pacific sardine, chub makerel, northern anchovy and market squid. These species are managed or monitored by the Pacific Fishery Management Council under the CPS Fishery Management Plan. In addition, cooperative work and sharing of data with Mexican scientists on CPS has been ongoing for over 40 years through the CalCOFI program. Novel methods to survey coastal pelagic species are being developed by Fisheries Research Division scientists in SWFSC's Advanced Survey Technologies Program.