Cruises of the "Albatross" off San Diego and Other Parts of Southern California, 1889-1916

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  • After five years of service in the Atlantic area following its 1882 launching, the U. S. Fish Commission research ship "Albatross" was reassigned to the Pacific coast and arrived in San Francisco in May 1888. It stopped only briefly in the San Diego area on its way north, but returned many times to do extensive scientific research in waters off southern California during the ensuing years until 1916. The "Albatross" conducted the first oceanographic investigations of the areas in and around San Diego Bay, including offshore islands where on-land research was also performed.
  • The author names the various species of fishes found in areas studied and writes that the presence of petroleum on surface water was noted by the "Albatross" as a reason for the absence of marine life or evidence of fish kills in some of the regions studied. The "Albatross" discovered and mapped several important fishing banks, conducted the first investigations of southern California's tuna stocks, and had significant impact on scientific knowledge in general. The vessel was ordered back to San Francisco in November 1916, and was put under U. S. Navy control for World War I. The article is accompanied by 7 Figures.


  • United States Fish Commission
  • Albatross (Steamer)


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Article is one of six from a quarterly journal of the National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U. S. Department of Commerce. This issue of the journal is devoted entirely to the U. S. Fish Commission Steamer "Albatross," launched in 1882 as the world's first oceanographic and fisheries research ship; the Introduction features 16 photographs and illustrations. The articles were papers presented at a symposium held on June 30, 1997, at the University of Washington in Seattle; each concerns a phase of the ship's 40-year career as a research vessel.

Contained within

Marine Fisheries Review Vol. 61, No. 4 (Journal)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520,




  • Scientific expeditions
  • Oceanographic research ships
  • Oceans
  • Fishes
  • Fisheries
  • Marine resources
  • History
  • Petroleum industry
  • Fisheries--History
  • Petroleum
  • Oceanography


United States

Physical description

pgs. 22-30

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