West Coast Fishery Observer Bycatch and Mortality Reports
U.S. West Coast fisheries coverage, bycatch, and fishing mortality reports compiled from observer, landings, and electronic monitoring data.
Observer Coverage Rates
Analysts, managers, and scientists use estimates of observer coverage to extrapolate bycatch from the observed to the unobserved portion of the fleet and measure the data limitations and assumptions. We calculate observer coverage rates to fleet-wide landings by sector. The Catch Share and At-sea Hake fisheries have observers on 100% of all fishing trips. The Electronic Monitoring (EM) program has 100% electronic monitoring and a target of 30% human observation for scientific data collection. All other observed fisheries have less than 100% observer coverage.
Somers, K. A., K. E. Richerson, V. J. Tuttle, and J. T. McVeigh. 2023. Fisheries Observation Science Program Coverage Rates, 2002-22. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Data Report NMFS-NWFSC-DR-2023-01.
Fishery Management Reports
Fishery managers require estimates of fishing mortality and other fishery impacts on both target and non-target species. Our management reports provide estimates of fishing mortality and bycatch using data from the West Coast Groundfish and At-sea Hake observer programs along the U.S. West Coast.
Groundfish Mortality Reports
The Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) uses the annual Groundfish Mortality Report to evaluate harvest guidelines. This report estimates and analyzes discards, landings, and mortality for fish and some invertebrate species observed by the WCGOP and A-SHOP and landings from unobserved sectors and mortality estimates from research projects and recreational fisheries. We include information from 2002 to the most recent year of data. We publish the Groundfish Mortality Report annually in draft form in the Briefing Book for the Pacific Fishery Management Council's September meeting. Once we finalize the report, we publish it as a 508 compliant NOAA Technical Memorandum and make it available at the NOAA Institutional Repository.
Somers, K. A., K. Richerson, V. Tuttle, and J. T. McVeigh. 2023. Estimated Discard and Catch of Groundfish Species in the 2021 U.S. West Coast Fisheries. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NWFSC-182.
The Groundfish Expanded Mortality Multi-year (GEMM) data product is a multi-year companion to the annual Groundfish Mortality Report and includes mortality estimates, by fishery sector, of all observed species, except protected fish, marine mammals, sea birds, and sea turtles. The GEMM is available from the Data Warehouse in the "Observer Program" layer group. Starting in 2020, we will publish the GEMM as part of the Groundfish Mortality Report.
For copies of older reports, please email Kayleigh Somers.
Pacific Halibut Reports
The Pacific halibut report provides multi-year estimates of Pacific halibut bycatch mortality. Fisheries managers at both the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the International Pacific Halibut Commission use the Pacific halibut report to inform stock assessments and fisheries management. A draft version of the report is published annually in the Briefing Book for the Pacific Fishery Management Council's September meeting. Once we finalize the report, we publish it as a 508 compliant NOAA Technical Memorandum and make it publicly available at the NOAA Institutional Repository.
Jannot, J. E., K. E. Richerson, K. A. Somers, V. J. Tuttle, C. M. Colway, and J. T. McVeigh. 2022. Pacific Halibut Bycatch in U.S. West Coast Groundfish Fisheries, 2002-20. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NWFSC-173.
Jannot, J. E., N. Riley, J. T. McVeigh. 2020. Pacific Halibut Individual Bycatch Quota Calculations for Use in the NOAA West Coast Region Individual Fishing Quota (IFQ) Program (PDF, 16 pages) U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA Processed Report, NMFS-NWFSC-PR-2020-01, 11 p.
Jannot, J. E., K. E. Richerson, K. A. Somers, and J. McVeigh. 2019. Weighted Length Frequency Distributions for Pacific Halibut in U.S. West Coast Limited Entry and Catch Share Bottom Trawl and Pot Fisheries, 2004¿18. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Data Report NMFS-NWFSC-DR-2019-03. https://doi.org/10.25923/5xz2-zy24
Protected Species Reports
Federal laws and regulations, such as the Endangered Species Act (ESA), provide protections for salmon, green sturgeon, eulachon, short-tailed albatross, humpback whales, and all sea turtles. Observers collect protected species data to estimate bycatch or takes of these species. Accurate reporting of the bycatch of ESA-listed species is essential in determining overall mortality and managing ESA-listed species' recovery.
Every two years, the FOS Analyst Team collaborates with endangered species scientists and managers to report on protected species bycatch in fisheries observed by FOS. This collaborative reporting project responds to the 2012 National Marine Fisheries Science (NMFS) Biological Opinion on Continuing Operation of the Pacific Coast Groundfish Fishery, to document bycatch and fishing effort in the West Coast Groundfish Fisheries. In addition to reporting on ESA-listed species, we also produce comprehensive reports on all seabird and marine mammal bycatch.
We provide bycatch and take estimates in individuals' units, rather than weight, for protected species management and assessment. The impacts of fishery management on protected species bycatch can be found at the following websites: NOAA's Northwest Region and Pacific Fishery Management Council.
Richerson, K., K. A. Somers, J. E. Jannot, V. Tuttle, N. B. Riley, and J. McVeigh. 2022. Observed and Estimated Bycatch of Salmon in U.S. West Coast Fisheries, 2002-20. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Data Report NMFS-NWFSC-DR-2022-01.
For copies of older reports, please contact Kate Richerson.
ESA-listed Species Reports
We must produce biennial reports under the most recent Biological Opinions for eulachon, green sturgeon, short-tailed albatross, humpback whales, and leatherback sea turtles. We also provide an analysis of fishing effort.
The most recent reports of takes for ESA-listed species can be found in Agenda Item I.4 of the June 2019 Briefing Book, at the Pacific Fisheries Management Council website. Recent reports that have been published as Technical Memorandums are listed below.
Somers, K. A., C. E. Whitmire, K. Richerson, and V. J. Tuttle. 2023. Fishing Effort in the 2002-21 Pacific Coast Groundfish Fisheries. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NWFSC-184.
Richerson, K., J.E. Jannot, J. McVeigh, K. Somers, V. Tuttle, and S. Wang. 2020. Observed and Estimated Total of Green Sturgeon in the 2002-2019 US West Coast Fisheries. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NWFSC-178.
For copies of older reports, please contact Kate Richerson.
Marine Mammal and Seabird Reports
We also produce comprehensive reports on all marine mammal and seabird bycatch in addition to the species-specific biennial reports.
Jannot, J. E., A. Wuest, T. P. Good, K. A. Somers, V. J. Tuttle, K. E. Richerson, R. S. Shama, and J. T. McVeigh. 2021. Seabird Bycatch in U.S. West Coast Fisheries, 2002–18. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NWFSC-165.
Jannot, J. E., T. Good, V. Tuttle, A. M. Eich, and S. Fitzgerald, editors. 2018. U.S. West Coast and Alaska Trawl Fisheries Seabird Cable Strike Mitigation Workshop, November 2017: Summary Report. U.S. Department of Commerce, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NWFSC-142 (PDF, 54 pages)
Jannot, J. E., Somers, K. A., Tuttle, V. J., Eibner, J., Richerson, K. E., McVeigh, J. T., Carretta, J. V., Young, N. C., Freed, J. 2022. Marine Mammal Bycatch in U.S. West Coast Groundfish Fisheries, 2002–19. NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-NWFSC-176. (PDF, 57 pages)