Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Recent Top Stories

Evaluating new technologies for West Coast hake survey
 Posted: June 14, 2019

This week, Center staff will board the NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada to begin leg one of the Pacific hake survey. One new feature this year is that the path the Shimada will be duplicated by four unmanned surface vehicles that will be launched by Saildrone, Inc. This effort will allow scientists to compare and evaluate the data collected by the Saildrones with the stock assessment needs of the survey.   more...

Pasco scientists teach students about salmon
 Posted: June 13, 2019

Scientists from the NWFSC's Pasco Research Station worked with 4th and 5th graders in the classroom as students raised salmon from egg to parr, and at the annual Salmon Summit in April, where over 3,000 students released the fish into the Columbia River. Jesse Lamb, Matt Nesbit, and Benjamin Sandford share why they get involved year after year.   more...

Survive the Sound
 Posted: April 23, 2019

"Survive the Sound" is an online game developed in collaboration with Long Live the Kings and other partners, using real fish data collected by NOAA scientists who study the migration patterns and survival of threatened steelhead in Puget Sound. Megan Moore tells us more about the research behind the game, why it's important for steelhead recovery, and what she hopes "Survive the Sound" participants learn in the long run.   more...

Hitting us where it hurts
 Posted: April 9, 2019

HABs are a growing problem in every U.S. coastal and Great Lakes state, costing the economy millions of dollars each year and impacting the lives of many citizens. We've created an interactive story map to highlight the latest economic data and tell the personal stories of those most affected by the 2015 West Coast toxic bloom that shut down the Dungeness crab and razor clam fisheries along the U.S. West Coast.   more...

It's not what's in the water
 Posted: April 1, 2019

Shellfish can become infected by harmful strains of marine bacteria, Vibrio parahaemolyticus, which occur naturally in our waters but can cause gastrointestinal disease and even death in seafood consumers that eat raw shellfish. Few tools are available to help scientists assess the risk of infection in advance. In a recent paper, the NWFSC and partners share how we might improve our ability to forecast Vibrio outbreaks.   more...

International cruise comes to an end
 Posted: March 19, 2019

A month-long international cruise to track salmon in the Gulf of Alaska ended on March 15 as the Russian research vessel Professor Kaganovskiy pulled into port in Vancouver, BC. Over 20 scientists from five Pacific Rim countries, including NOAA Fisheries researchers from the Alaska and Northwest Fisheries Science Centers, took thousands of samples at sea, which will be analyzed over the coming months.   more...

West Coast waters are shifting
 Posted: March 8, 2019

The ocean off the West Coast is shifting from several years of unusually warm conditions, toward a cooler and more productive regime that may boost salmon returns and populations of other ocean predators, according to a new NOAA Fisheries report. The 2019 ecosystem status report for the California Current Ecosystem tracks a series of species, and climate and ocean conditions, as barometers of ocean health and productivity and also draws on economic indicators that reflect the state of West Coast communities.   more...

Save the date: NOAA Night at Mukilteo
 Posted: March 7, 2019

Join us on March 18, 2019 for an evening with scientists working at NOAA's Mukilteo Research Station. Learn about the effects of ocean acidification on marine life like krill and Dungeness crab; urban runoff and the nearshore marine environment; fish behavior and sustainable aquaculture, monitoring of the Elwha dam removal; ocean conditions and salmon; NOAA's Teacher in the Lab program, and much more!   more...

Notes from the field
 Posted: March 6, 2019

Dr. Laurie Weitkamp, U.S. chief scientist for an international cruise tracking salmon in Alaska, shares her observations of life aboard the Russian research vessel Professor Kaganovskiy, from the cuisine to the unique way of keeping clocks and calendar. Check out her notes from the field and the scientists' surprising results so far.   more...

Unraveling the Mysteries of Salmon Survival
 Posted: February 19, 2019

An international team of scientists is braving the cold, rough waters of the Gulf of Alaska aboard a Russian research vessel on a mission to collect data about some of the biggest mysteries of Pacific salmon: Where do they go at sea? What do they eat when they're out there? And what determines whether they live or die? The data should help the team provide more accurate forecasts of salmon returns to west coast rivers.   more...

Male Killer Whales Hunt More Often Than Females
 Posted: February 5, 2019

A new report shows that male killer whales dive for fish more often than females -- likely due to their greater metabolic needs. The study also shows, however, that not every hunt by a killer whale is successful. Researchers used temporary suction-cup tags to collect data from 21 whales over a four-year period, and will analyze the data to learn more about how vessel noise and traffic might affect the whales' foraging habits.   more...

Marine Waters in Puget Sound Returning to Normal
 Posted: December 19, 2018

A new report from the Puget Sound Ecosystem Monitoring Program's Marine Waters Workgroup finds that the unusually warm water temperatures that prevailed in Puget Sound since 2014 finally cooled off in 2017. Although water temperatures recovered, the populations of many marine animals throughout the food web are still lower than usual in the region. In addition, the region experienced both the wettest spring and driest summer ever recorded in 2017.   more...

Are Salmon Losing Their Sense of Smell?
 Posted: December 18, 2018

Salmon depend on their incredible sense of smell to help them hunt, avoid danger, and find their way home after years at sea. New research from NWFSC and the University of Washington indicates that, as the oceans continue to absorb carbon from the atmosphere, this may affect salmon's ability to process smells. In particular, the study showed that they become less afraid of smells that normally signify danger, making them more vulnerable to predators.   more...

West Coast Survey Collaborates with Saildrone to Test New Technologies
 Posted: November 16, 2018

A landmark study combined new onboard survey technologies with the capabilities of a small fleet of saildrones. Simultaneous observations of krill, fish, marine mammals, and seabirds from Vancouver Island to Southern California will help us better understand the impacts of predators on fish populations.   more...

Why Salmon Need Side Channels
 Posted: November 13, 2018

New research shows that one of the best ways to recover threatened Chinook salmon may be to restore the winding side channels that once gave young fish essential rearing habitat and refuge from high winter flows. Using fine-scale river maps and salmon population data, researchers created models showing that more complex rivers (those with side channels as well as deep pools, log jams, and other protective features) helped stabilize salmon numbers.   more...

Marine Science Internships for Veterans
 Posted: November 9, 2018

Two veterans will mark this Veterans' Day as part of research teams at NOAA Fisheries' Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC), one focused on the ecological response to dam removal and the other on the effects of ocean acidification. NWFSC's internship program for veterans, known as the Washington Veterans Corps Fisheries Program, offers veterans a foothold toward a career in marine science, while also supplementing the Science Center's research staff.   more...

West Coast survey for coral and sponge habitat
 Posted: October 31, 2018

Scientists are using underwater vehicles to survey deepwater coral and sponge habitat and collect baseline data on essential fish habitat during a month-long cruise along OR and CA on the NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada. Stay tuned for more about this collaborative cruise involving NOAA's NWFSC and SWFSC, NOAA's Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and US Geological Survey.

Witch's Hat
 Posted: October 31, 2018

This new underwater feature was discovered a few days before Halloween off the West Coast in an area called La Cruz Canyon. The image was taken from an ROV during a research cruise aboard the NOAA ship Bell M. Shimada to study deep sea corals and sponges. The "witch's hat" is a lava-like solidified asphalt mound formed below the sea surface. Such features form when heavy hydrocarbons are released at the sea floor, creating flow features like lava flows.

Documenting the Diversity of Shellfish Beds
 Posted: October 19, 2018

Oyster beds are home to more than just oysters, a new collaborative research project shows. Scientists from NOAA Fisheries and partners worked with shellfish growers to place GoPro cameras around Puget Sound, capturing hundreds of hours of video and showcasing a diversity of species, including sharks, crabs, flatfish, and salmon. Shellfish aquaculture is vital to Washington's economy; we're beginning to see how it helps the marine ecosystem, too.   more...

Deepwater Horizon Study: Unexpected Results
 Posted: October 11, 2018

A new analysis of data on key Gulf of Mexico fish, shrimp, and crab species before and after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill found little sign of any long-term disruptions in abundance, a result that runs counter to food web models and laboratory studies on oil toxicology. This may be a "false negative" due to the nature of the dataset used in the analysis, as studies of individual animals after oil spills have shown that lasting impacts do occur.   more...

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