The Southwest Fisheries Science Center is headquartered in La Jolla, California, and has science laboratories located in Santa Cruz and Monterey, California. We also have field stations in Piedras Blancas, Granite Canyon, and Arcata, California, and two stations on the Antarctic Peninsula.
Our mission is to generate and communicate the scientific information necessary for the conservation and management of the region’s marine life.
What We Do
Established in 1964 to study the sardine and tuna fisheries of the U.S. West Coast, we provide scientific information to support fisheries management and conserve protected species in the California Current, throughout the Pacific Ocean, and in the Southern Ocean off Antarctica.
Our scientists conduct marine biological, economic and oceanographic research, observations, and monitoring of living marine resources and their environment. We also conduct research on the impacts of environmental variability and climate change on marine ecosystems and on fishery and conservation socio-economics. We work with numerous partners and our NOAA Fisheries counterparts—the Northwest, Pacific Islands and Alaska Fisheries Science Centers and the West Coast Regional Office—provide sound science for national and international management decisions.
Celebrate with us! Southwest Fisheries Science Center's: Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 StoryMap, Pride Month 2021 StoryMap, Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month 2021 StoryMap and Women's History Month 2022 StoryMap.
Our Science Divisions
Antarctic Ecosystem Research
The Antarctic Ecosystem Research Division manages and implements the U.S. Antarctic Marine Living Resources Program, which provides information for U.S. policy on the management and conservation of Antarctic living resources and supports U.S. participation in international efforts to protect the Antarctic and its marine life.
Environmental Research Division
The Environmental Research Division focuses on investigations of environmental variability on marine resources—from local to global scales—and the effects of global climate change on oceanic processes important to fish population dynamics. We develop oceanographic information and data products through the ERDDAP data server and host the West Coast regional site for the NOAA CoastWatch program, which provides rapid dissemination of satellite observation data to governmental, academic, commercial, and public users.
Fisheries Ecology Division
The Fisheries Ecology Division focuses on demersal and anadromous fish of the California Current and inland waters. We conduct stock assessments for the management of groundfish and salmon fisheries and provide scientific information to support the conservation of threatened and endangered species and their habitats.
Fisheries Resources Division
The Fisheries Resources Division conducts research on valuable coastal pelagic and highly migratory marine species in the eastern Pacific Ocean. We focus on the ecology, ecosystems, and fisheries of sardine, anchovy, mackerels, abalones, tunas, and sharks in support of domestic and international fisheries management.
Marine Mammal and Turtle Division
The Marine Mammal and Turtle Division conducts research on the conservation and recovery of marine mammals and turtles in all oceans of the world, with a special focus on the eastern Pacific.
Our Leadership and Support Divisions
Office of the Science Director
The Director’s Office provides overall leadership, coordination, and communication for the Center's science programs.
Operations and Management Division
The Operations and Management Division provides administrative and operational services including financial and acquisitions management, human resources, facilities management and safety and environmental compliance in support of the Center’s staff and research mission.
Information Technology Services
Information Technology Services provides information technology and data management services to support the Center's science programs.
Kristen Koch is the Science and Research Director of Southwest Fisheries Science Center. She served as Deputy Director since 2009. Previously, Kristen was the Deputy Ecosystem Goal Team Lead in Silver Spring, MD (2007-2009) where she oversaw NOAA's $1.5 billion ecosystem portfolio. In this position, she was responsible for strategic planning and management of NOAA's nine ecosystem programs across four NOAA offices (Fisheries, Ocean Service, Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, and National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service).
John A. Crofts
John Crofts is Deputy Director of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center. John began his NOAA career in 2001 as a NOAA Corps Officer. He most recently served as the Center's Chief of Staff and in a variety of scientific, advisory, and management positions throughout NOAA. He most recently served as the first operational Commanding Officer of NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker leading multiple surveys in the California Current and Gulf of Alaska. Prior to NOAA, he worked as a fish biologist for the Florida Marine Research Institute.