Northwest Fisheries Science Center


Recent Top Stories

Research cruise embarks
 Posted: October 8, 2019

On October 7, a team of scientists and engineers left Newport, Oregon for a month-long research cruise along the West Coast. The expedition, representing collective efforts of three federal agencies led by NOAA Fisheries, will dive deep to explore corals, sponges, and fish habitat on the ocean floor. A live video feed will allow anyone to follow along with the expedition.   more...


New proposal to expand killer whale critical habitat
 Posted: September 18, 2019

NOAA Fisheries is proposing to expand critical habitat of endangered orcas based on information about their coastal range and habitat use. The proposal would extend critical habitat for the whales along a roughly 1,000-mile swath of West Coast waters from Cape Flattery, WA to south to Point Sur, California.   more...


New Marine Heatwave Emerges off West Coast
 Posted: September 5, 2019

About five years ago "the Blob" of warm ocean water disrupted the West Coast marine ecosystem and depressed salmon returns. Now, a new expanse of unusually warm water has quickly grown in much the same way, in the same area, to almost the same size.   more...


New mapping reveals lost West Coast estuary habitat
 Posted: August 21, 2019

An unprecedented survey has revealed the loss of about 85 percent of historical tidal wetlands in California, Oregon, and Washington. The report, published recently in PLOS ONE, also mentions a silver lining--that the forgotten estuary acreage might now be targeted for restoration.   more...


Genetic "nets" detect DNA as accurately as real ones
 Posted: July 30, 2019

In a new study, Northwest Fisheries Science Center scientists and partners show that eDNA is just as effective in tracking threatened Chinook populations as casting nets into the water to catch the fish swimming by.   more...


Photo contest winners
 Posted: July 26, 2019

We are pleased to announce the winners of the NOAA West Coast Region's photo and video contest. Staff from the Northwest and Southwest Fisheries Science Centers and our West Coast Region submitted 105 stunning photos and six videos as part of a call to "show how we accomplish our mission in ways words cannot." Congratulations to the winners and thanks to all who participated!   more...


New report: climate vulnerability assessment
 Posted: July 25, 2019

Several of the West Coast's prime salmon runs are highly vulnerable to climate change, but intensified habitat restoration and other measures can help support their natural resilience and adaptability. A new NOAA Fisheries report, published this week in PLOS ONE, is the first comprehensive climate vulnerability assessment for West Coast salmon and steelhead.   more...


What's new with the Pacific hake survey?
 Posted: July 24, 2019

Catch up with the scientists aboard the NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada as they complete the Pacific hake survey off the West Coast. Learn about the interesting new tools they are using like eDNA and Saildrones, what life at sea is like, and much more on their blog, The Main Deck.   more...


Microscopic details from Southern Resident killer whale samples
 Posted: July 8, 2019

When biologists are fortunate enough to collect a biological sample from the breath, mucus, or scat of a Southern Resident killer whale in the wild, it's often a tiny amount. Using molecular genetic techniques, Dr. Linda Rhodes and her team make the most of microscopic samples by analyzing the DNA they contain.   more...


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...


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