Fisheries Observation Science Program Coverage Rates, 2002–18
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Fisheries Observation Science Program Coverage Rates, 2002–18
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    The Fisheries Observation Science (FOS) Program at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center places trained biologists, known as observers, on U.S. West Coast fishing boats to collect data on catch composition and amount, obtain biological samples of catch, and record interactions with protected species, among other duties. This data report presents multiple tables that summarize the level of this observer coverage, which is described as the proportion of targeted landings associated with observed trips to the total targeted landings across all trips in the fleet, based on fish ticket data from the Pacific Fishery Information Network (PacFIN). The species considered to be targeted are defined based on the fishery and described in the header of each table. The total targeted landings by each fleet are reported even in years when FOS did not observe any trips. FOS consists of two programs, both of which are included in this report: the At-Sea Hake Observer Program (A-SHOP) and the West Coast Groundfish Observer Program (WCGOP). A-SHOP observes the hake fleet that processes catch at sea, while WCGOP observes a number of fleets that deliver catch shoreside for processing, including sectors that target and incidentally impact groundfish. WCGOP specifically focuses on at-sea discard estimates. In the WCGOP data especially, the level of observer coverage and sampling can vary greatly between fisheries, years, and spatial strata. This report quantifies the magnitude of expansions required to use observer data to estimate fleetwide levels of discard, and can highlight areas where estimates are less certain. Further, in some cases, fewer than three active vessels in a stratum result in confidential data, which is masked using asterisks. Every year this report is updated to include the newest year of data, the most current data from FOS and PacFIN for previous years, and the most recent data processing procedures. All updates are described in the Groundfish Mortality report, which is available annually in draft form in the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s September Briefing Book, and in final form later in the year via a NOAA Technical Memorandum. The tables in this data report (filename: DR-2019-01.xlsx) can be downloaded from the report’s NOAA Institutional Repository record by clicking on the “Supporting Files” tab.
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