The Pacific Northwest is known for its stunning marine and terrestrial ecosystems. Mountain ranges, rainforests, diverse 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 research stations in Washington and Oregon, is home to more than 400 scientists and staff. Our region includes the eastern Pacific Ocean off the West Coast, as well as the freshwater rivers of Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
What We Do
The scientists at NOAA Fisheries Northwest Fisheries Science Center conduct cutting-edge research to help fishery managers build sustainable fisheries, protect and recover endangered species, maintain healthy ecosystems, and protect human health in the Pacific Northwest.
We work with our NOAA Fisheries counterpart, the West Coast Region, to manage more than 90 commercially important fish species, recover over 30 threatened and endangered fish and marine mammal species, and identify and mitigate coastal and ocean health risks. We also work with the Southwest Fisheries Science Center to inform management decisions on the stewardship of the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem.
The Conservation Biology Division conducts science to support the conservation of marine species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. Effective conservation requires understanding how human and natural factors influence the viability of marine species and their ecosystems. To meet this challenge, the Division has assembled a group of scientists from a broad spectrum of scientific disciplines, including statistics, genetics, ecology, economics, anthropology and population biology. Together, we are dedicated to providing science to address critical conservation needs, with a primary focus on the recovery of threatened species and the conservation of the marine ecosystems.
Environmental and Fisheries Science
The Environmental and Fisheries Science Division conducts research to assess and reduce natural and human-caused impacts on environmental and human health, and to improve methods for fisheries restoration and production in conservation hatcheries and in aquaculture. Environmental health and conservation research examines environmental conditions and the impacts of chemical contaminants, marine biotoxins, and pathogens on fishery resources, protected species, habitat quality, seafood safety, and human health. Fisheries restoration and aquaculture includes research on the challenges associated with captive rearing, nutrition, reproduction, behavior, disease control, engineering, hatchery technology and larval/juvenile quality for protected, depleted and commercially valuable species.
EFS also maintains a readiness to respond quickly to environmental emergencies from the release of toxic materials into the environment.
We help resource managers and the public understand the ecological links between important fishery resources and their Pacific Northwest habitats. We investigate factors that influence growth, distribution, and survival of commercially and culturally important species such as Pacific salmon, hake, and lamprey. We also help local management agencies evaluate stream, river, and watershed restoration efforts to recover salmon stocks listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. On the Columbia River, researchers have worked for over 30 years to help mitigate the impacts of dams and reservoirs to migrating adult and juvenile fish. Today, our efforts focus on understanding migratory behavior of fish in the river, estuary, and ocean, as well as ecosystem processes affecting their growth and survival in these contrasting environments. A major area of interest is the Columbia River estuary, where we study the physical, chemical, and biological interactions that affect population variability.
Fishery Resource Analysis and Monitoring
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 this 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 that are used to evaluate the status of important West Coast groundfish species.
Operations, Management and Information Division
The Operations, Management, and Information Division provides administrative services and infrastructure to support the NWFSC's scientific programs. Our services include planning for programmatic and annual operations; scientific data management; center budget formulation and implementation; human resources management; administrative processes; information technology; environmental compliance and safety; and facilities management. Other services include procurement and property management, research library services, foreign and domestic travel, small boats and fleet vehicle management, employee and union relations, and grants.
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. The Office of the Science Director also oversees collaborative partnerships and manages small scientific programs in emerging areas.
Kevin Werner, Ph.D.
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.
Mark Strom, Ph.D.
Dr. Strom has been the Deputy Director for the Northwest Fisheries Science Center since 2012. As chief operating officer for ABL, he guides program planning and development, workforce development, administration, fiscal management, facilities oversight, information technology and library systems oversight, and safety and environmental compliance actions. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 1992 and holds Affiliate Faculty appointments in the University of Washington.