Observers are deployed across many sectors (fleets) that target or take groundfish species as bycatch. Using these data, the program provides summaries and estimates of fisheries data including: observer coverage levels, areas fished, and amount and type of groundfish species retained and discarded. These data are also used to estimate groundfish mortality and interactions with protected species (e.g. marine mammal takes). Estimates are used for both fishery management and scientific purposes. Data are summarized, estimated and reported within three broader categories frequently used by management and industry: sector, fish species management, and protected species. The estimates for discard ratios and fleet-wide total discards are provided with statistical measurements of uncertainty in the WCGOP reports. Learn about the methods used to estimate such statistical uncertainties in the WCGOP reports.
Observer data are summarized by fishery-sector specific criteria, in accord with the WCGOP selection process. Sectors vary by permit structure (federal and state), gear type and harvest specifications. Both managers and scientists use sector-specific reports to understand species-specific bycatch. Sector reports provide scientists with sector-specific biological information by species, depths fished, and discarded and retained catch (in units of weight). Sector data are reported by year, and species-specific bycatch can be compared among observed sectors (see below; except at-sea hake). For further information on these WCGOP data products, go to sector data products.
The At-Sea Hake Observer Program data is incorporated in the NOAAs West Coast Regions in-season updates that track total catch in the at-sea hake processing fleets.
Designed primarily for management use, fish species management reports provide estimates of fishing mortality and bycatch from WCGOP and A-SHOP observed sectors along the entire US West Coast. Annually, the WCGOP produces a groundfish mortality report. This report is used by management to evaluate harvest guidelines. The groundfish mortality report contains discard rates calculated from WCGOP data, estimates of discard, and other sources of fishing mortality from unobserved sectors (e.g., recreational, research). Information from the groundfish mortality report is used to update projection models for groundfish management. A separate report estimating the bycatch mortality of Pacific halibut from WCGOP observed sectors is also produced. The Pacific halibut report is used by groundfish managers and the International Pacific Halibut Commission. In both reports, estimates (in units of weight) are reported for each observed sector separately.
Protected species data are used to estimate total bycatch or takes of protected species in WCGOP and A-SHOP observed sectors. Protected species groups encountered by observed vessels include marine mammals, sea turtles, sea birds, green sturgeon, eulachon and salmon. For management purposes, bycatch/take estimates are provided in units of individuals, rather than weight.