Researchers at the SWFSC are a sea-going group of scientists.  Cruises are designed to collect data on the abundance, distribution, and biological characteristics of fish and protected species, and to assess the ecosystems of which they are a part, from sea-going research vessels, including the NOAA research vessels Bell M. Shimada  and McArthur II and chartered vessels.  Among the many at-sea surveys conducted by the SWFSC are the following: