Fisheries and Ecosystem Oceanography Research in the California Current

Our team uses ship-based surveys to collect ecosystem and juvenile rockfish population data used in fisheries management.

A program of the Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s Fisheries Ecology Division.

The Fisheries and Ecosystem Oceanography Team conducts an annual midwater trawl survey of pelagic juvenile rockfish and other groundfish, along with forage species such as krill, market squid, anchovies, and sardines. Starting in 1983 and originally limited to California’s central coast, the survey expanded in 2004 to include the entire California coastline.

Results of this survey are used to:

  • Inform recruitment, or year class strength, in stock assessments of rockfish and other groundfish
  • Improve our understanding of the physical and biological ecosystem factors that lead to strong or weak year classes
  • Improve our understanding of the spatial and temporal variability in the forage (epipelagic micronekton) assemblage, including interactions and impacts to predators such as salmon, seabirds, and marine mammals that feed on this assemblage

Abundance indices from the survey are routinely included in the California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (CCIEA) and support a number of CCIEA initiatives to better understand drivers and consequences of variable productivity patterns to fisheries and other managed resources in the California Current.

Our Team

Team Leader: John Field