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Short Citation:
Alaska Fisheries Science Center, 2023: AFSC/NMML: Platforms of Opportunity Program (POP): 1950 - present,

Item Identification

Title: AFSC/NMML: Platforms of Opportunity Program (POP): 1950 - present
Short Name: AFSC/NMML: Platforms of Opportunity Program (POP): 1950 - present
Status: In Work

The Platforms of Opportunity Program (POP) is an opportunistic marine mammal sighting program that dates back to the 1950s and includes over 108,000 sightings. Sightings have been submitted by a number of sources including: NOAA vessels, USCG vessels, USFWS vessels, various research vessels, and the NMFS commercial fishery observer program. While data for POP is collected on a not-to-interfere basis, the opportunistic sightings provided have greatly improved the understanding of marine mammal distribution. In general, POP data has been used to document both historic and present occurrence and distribution of marine mammals, help identify potential cruise routes for systematic marine mammal surveys, and aid in examining relationships between marine mammals and fisheries.


To gather opportunistic marine mammal sightings as supplemental information regarding marine mammal distribution, abundance and seasonality.


Loaded by FGDC Metadata Uploader, batch 6814, 08-12-2015 16:53

The following FGDC sections are not currently supported in InPort, but were preserved and will be included in the FGDC export:

- Taxonomy (FGDC:taxonomy)


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
ISO 19115 Topic Category
ISO 19115 Topic Category

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None Aleutian Islands
None Arctic Ocean
None Atlantic Ocean
None Bering Sea
None Gulf of Alaska
None Pacific Ocean

Physical Location

Organization: National Marine Mammal Laboratory
City: Seattle
State/Province: WA
Country: United States

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Maintenance Frequency: As Needed
Data Presentation Form: other
Data Set Credit: Observer Program, NOAA Vessels, USCG, NMFS Charter, USFWS, Canadian Coast Guard

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 227450
Date Effective From: 2015
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Delean, Blair
Email Address:


CC ID: 213068
Date Effective From: 2015
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): National Marine Mammal Laboratory (NMML)

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 213067
Date Effective From: 2015-08-12
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): MC, Metadata Coordinators
Email Address:


CC ID: 213070
Date Effective From: 2015-08-12
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC)
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way N.E., Building 4
Seattle, WA 98115
Business Hours: 0700-1700 Pacific Time

Point of Contact

CC ID: 233125
Date Effective From: 2015
Date Effective To:
Contact (Person): Delean, Blair
Email Address:


Currentness Reference: Ground Condition

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 213066
W° Bound: -180
E° Bound: -130
N° Bound: 75
S° Bound: 30

Primarily West Coast of US, and Alaska but also includes all other oceans

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 213065
Time Frame Type: Range
Start: 1950
End: 2015

Access Information

Security Class: Confidential
Data Access Procedure:

Data is confidential and therefore not accessible.

Data Access Constraints:

For scientific, management, and regulation compliance purposes, all data collected by observers are confidential under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act; as amended, Public Law 109-479; 16 U.S.C. 1853; implemented at 50 CFR 679.50. Therefore unprocessed (raw) data can be shared only with authorized persons; however aggregated forms of the data are generally available.

Data Use Constraints:

The user must adhere to restrictions placed on publication of data by the Magnuson-Stevens Act as amended in 2006.



CC ID: 213141
URL Type:
Online Resource

Boucher and Boaz. Documentation for the Marine Mammal Sightings Database of the National Marine Mammal Laboratory. NOAA Technical Memoradum NMFS F/NWC-159.

Technical Environment



Data Quality

Completeness Report:

The data that is gathered for the POP come as sightings of opportunity. These incidental sightings are not collected systematically, and there is no standardized sampling technique used by the observer (Consiglieri 1982). Sightings are provided by a range of persons with varying levels of education, training, and experience in marine mammal identification.

Quality Control Procedures Employed:

The marine mammal identifications are evaluated by an experienced marine mammal scientist and is based on accuracy of the description or sketch, sighting cues, silhouette noted, time of day, distance, number of species sighted, sighting conditions, and Beaufort scale. If the evaluator arrives at the same conclusion as the observer, the sighting is considered confirmed. The accuracy of data entry is checked by plotting locations to get a visual confirmation that the locations of each sighting are plausible. Any sighting that is visually outside of normal range is checked individually against the sighting form. Multiple queries of new data are conducted in order to group data and quickly detect any outliers.

Data Management

Have Resources for Management of these Data Been Identified?: No
Approximate Percentage of Budget for these Data Devoted to Data Management: Unknown
Do these Data Comply with the Data Access Directive?: No
Is Access to the Data Limited Based on an Approved Waiver?: Yes
Approximate Delay Between Data Collection and Dissemination: Unknown
Actual or Planned Long-Term Data Archive Location: No Archiving Intended
If To Be Determined, Unable to Archive, or No Archiving Intended, Explain:

Data is confidential.

Approximate Delay Between Data Collection and Archiving: Unknown
How Will the Data Be Protected from Accidental or Malicious Modification or Deletion Prior to Receipt by the Archive?:

IT Security and Contingency Plan for the system establishes procedures and applies to the functions, operations, and resources necessary to recover and restore data as hosted in the Western Regional Support Center in Seattle, Washington, following a disruption.


Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 213074


Child Items

Rubric scores updated every 15m

Rubric Score Type Title
Entity Sightings_master

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 17407
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:17407
Metadata Record Created By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Created: 2013-01-08 15:06+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2023-05-30 18:09+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2018-11-27
Owner Org: AFSC
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2018-11-27
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2019-11-27