The main mission of the Department of Fisheries Oceanography is the delivery of quality education and conduct of cutting-edge research in the interdisciplinary sciences related to the interactions between marine organisms and the marine environment. Research approaches employed include field exploration, laboratory experiments, theoretical research and modeling, and our students are fully involved in all these aspects.
As of 2010, New Bedford has reigned for ten years as the number one fishing port in the country in terms of value of landings, and cooperative research with the fishing industry is critical to the work of DFO at SMAST. Cooperative research enriches our work with the knowledge and perspective of the fishermen, alerts us to issues important to the health of the industry and the stocks, and enhances our ability to collect high quality data. For example, the scallop industry has worked extensively with the DFO to develop the world's largest video survey data-base of the sea scallop resource, and this research has been used in every management plan since 1999. Cooperative research occurs throughout the DFO in the industry-based annual sea scallop video survey, fishing gear research and design, socio-economic investigations, and research on species such as cod, herring, yellowtail flounder, winter flounder, and monkfish.
Our purpose is to train scientists in the techniques and theory of fisheries oceanography, with emphasis on stock assessment, population dynamics, physical and biological interaction and ecosystem modeling. Both MS and PhD programs address the growing need for marine scientists in federal and state agencies, academic institutions, and industry.