The laboratory is situated on the site of the historic Fort Crockett, one block from the Gulf of Mexico on Galveston Island, Texas.
What We Do
We inform commercial and recreational fishery species management, characterize fishery species habitats, and protect marine species and their estuarine coastal habitats of the Gulf of Mexico, the U.S. Southeastern Atlantic, and the U.S. Caribbean.
We conduct multidisciplinary research to inform natural resource management in the Southeastern United States. Our science is used to make informed management decisions to protect and conserve the living marine resources of the Southeast region and Atlantic high seas.
Analysis of fishery dependent landings and independent catch statistics information.
Evaluation of fishery management plans and regulations, particularly brown shrimp, white shrimp, pink shrimp, royal red shrimp, rock shrimp, bottom and reef fishes, through inshore and offshore stock assessments.
Evaluation of effects of species movement on fishing activities.
Evaluation of fishery effects from interactions with endangered species and marine mammals.
Development of models to forecast future shrimp landings.
Monitoring of industrial activities, such as offshore petroleum platform removal and fishing techniques, which adversely affects fishery stocks.
We conduct research to determine, monitor and describe fishery stock population characteristics, such as species distributions, abundance-at-age, recruitment to fishery and mortality parameters. We utilize single species or multi-species models, such as virtual population analysis, and age-based assessment models. We support management of fishery stocks by integrating ecological data, historical relationships and landings statistics data. We determine and predict effects of fishing on stock sizes of both directed and non-directed catch.
We do this work through our four highly integrated programs: 1) shrimp fishery research, 2) fishery observer programs, 3) oil platform ecology, and 4) bycatch in shrimp fisheries and shrimp population assessment.
We identify and describe relationships between fishery production and ecosystem characteristics. Most fishery species depend on estuarine and coastal habitats to support their productivity and important nursery habitats. These habitats include:
Shallow open water.
We identify key habitats and understand how variations in their characteristics affect fishery production. This information is critical to ensure adequate protection for essential fish habitats. A major focus of our research has been on wetlands, as coastal marshes in the Gulf of Mexico are experiencing high rates of wetland loss. These habitats are recognized as important for fishery species. Information on critical wetland characteristics that support fishery production is needed to ensure that functional habitats are created. Our research on functional ecology of salt marshes has helped guide these coastal marsh restoration efforts.
Mr. Wallace was appointed the Galveston Laboratory Director on June 10, 2019. Prior to his appointment, he was a senior fisheries research scientist at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle, Washington. While there he formed and led the Electronic Monitoring Innovation project that employs artificial intelligence to automated image analysis to determine catch size and species identification.
In 1929, a U. S. Fish & Wildlife Service Fisheries field station was established in Galveston on Offatts Bayou, directed by A.E. Hopkins, Ph.D. Its original mission was oyster research. In 1931, the Laboratory became one of four FWS field stations to do shrimp research in the Gulf of Mexico directed out of New Orleans by F.W. Weymouth. Our present facility was established in 1950, at the old U.S. Army Fort Crockett in Galveston, as a Bureau of Commercial Fisheries Laboratory. Historical designation. Renovated 2008. Over 70,000 square feet of offices and laboratories in 10 buildings with a 130,000- gallon seawater system. Research space is shared with National Ocean Service‘s Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, Physical Oceanographic Real Time System and the Texas Marine Mammal Stranding Network.