The Pacific Northwest is known for its stunning marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Mountain ranges, rainforests, estuaries, and rocky shorelines give way to an underwater landscape supporting a diverse web of species, from the iconic orca to microscopic algae. Protecting these resources is critical to sustaining our coastal economy, public health, and quality of life. The Northwest Fisheries Science Center, with its headquarters in Seattle, Washington and five research stations in Washington and Oregon is home to more than 350 people with a wide range of expertise. Our region includes the eastern Pacific Ocean off the West Coast, as well as the freshwater rivers of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
Visit any part of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center and you will find a place teeming with smart, talented people. We are passionate about producing high-quality science in support of the NOAA Fisheries mission and in service of the public good. We are proud stewards of the Pacific Northwest ecosystem. Our vision is outlined in our Vivid Description of the Future (PDF, 7 pages).
What We Do
The scientists at NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center conduct research to support sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, protect and recover endangered species, guide restoration of habitat, and maintain healthy communities and the ecosystems they rely on.
We work with our NOAA Fisheries counterpart, the West Coast Region, to:
- Manage more than 90 commercially important fish species.
- Recover more than 30 threatened and endangered fish and marine mammal species.
- Identify and mitigate coastal and ocean health risks.
Our Science Divisions
The Conservation Biology Division provides the scientific foundation for the conservation of whales, salmon, other marine species and the ecosystems upon which they depend.
We are guided by mandates of the Marine Mammal Protection Act, Endangered Species Act, and international agreements.
Our primary focus is aiding the recovery of at-risk species such as Pacific salmon and Southern Resident killer whales and the conservation of the marine ecosystems.
Environmental and Fisheries Science
The Environmental and Fisheries Science Division assesses and studies ways to reduce natural and human-caused impacts on environmental and human health, and to promote sustainable wild-caught and hatchery-raised fisheries.
We examine environmental conditions and the impacts of chemical contaminants, marine biotoxins, and pathogens on fish, protected species, habitat quality, seafood safety, and human health.
The Fish Ecology Division studies the ecological links between fish and their habitats.
We investigate factors that influence growth, distribution, and survival of commercially and culturally important fish such as Pacific salmon, hake, and lamprey.
We work with local management agencies to evaluate stream, river, and watershed restoration efforts to help recover salmon stocks listed under the Endangered Species Act.
Fishery Resource Analysis and Monitoring
The Fishery Resource Analysis and Monitoring Division coordinates the Center's programs for fisheries monitoring, fisheries data management, fisheries interactions, fish life history studies, and stock assessment.
We collect and analyze information on the approximately 90 groundfish species regulated under the Pacific Fishery Management Council's Groundfish Fishery Management Plan.
We collect these data on West Coast groundfish and their habitats by conducting field surveys, debriefing observers, and analyzing samples in the lab.
We explore the economic impact of both commercial and recreational fishing and complete stock assessments. These are used to evaluate the status of important West Coast groundfish species.
Our Leadership and Support Divisions
Office of the Science Director
The Office of the Science Director provides overall leadership and coordination for the Center's science programs.
We ensure that adequate resources are available to accomplish research priorities and that the Center's science is reliable and responsive to regional and national management needs.
We also oversee collaborative partnerships and manage small scientific programs in emerging areas.
Operations, Management, and Information Division
The Operations, Management, and Information Division provides administrative services and infrastructure to support the Center’s scientific programs.
Our services include:
- Scientific data management
- Budget formulation and implementation
- Human resources management
- Information technology
- Facilities management
Kevin Werner, PhD
Dr. Werner became Science and Research Director of the Northwest Fisheries Science Center in 2017. The Center strives to increase communication and partnerships with constituents and develop new research programs that address current and future science and management needs. Previously he served as the Director of the National Weather Service’s Office of Organizational Excellence. There he led and managed activities enabling NWS to become the agile and effective organization needed to build a weather-ready nation.
Nicolle is the Center’s Deputy Science and Research Director. Before joining the Center, she spent 20 years working for NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region. Over her career, Nicolle has overseen strategic planning, aquaculture, and communications. She’s led the senior leadership team and organizational health management practices and initiatives, such as supervisory skill-building, employee engagement and culture, and diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. Nicolle is a graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in Fisheries