Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Sector Data Products

The data collected by fishery observers, in combination with data from landings, enables fishermen to track their individual quotas and helps scientists monitor the condition of the fishery. Our scientists produce a variety of data products and reports that support decision-making by fishery managers and forward the NOAA mission.

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Observer Coverage Rates

Estimates of observer coverage are used by analysts, managers, and scientists as one measure of the data limitations and assumptions. Observer coverage rates are calculated in relation to fleet-wide landings by sector. Logistical constraints prevent 100% observer coverage in all sectors except for the at-sea hake processing fleets.

Year of data Year of release
Observer Coverage Rates 2002-2018 2019


For sectors when 100% coverage is not mandated (e.g., LE bottom trawl pre-Catch Shares), a selection process determines the trips a vessel must carry an observer. Occasionally, vessels whose permits were selected could not be observed. These vessels were often granted waivers—a temporary exemption from observer coverage. The Observer Program grants three types of waivers: trip waivers, coverage period waivers, and selection cycle waivers.

Trip waivers are issued based on observer availability or short-term safety issues. Coverage period waivers allow a vessel to fish during a short period without an observer. Coverage period waivers are given for reasons including observer availability and vessel safety. When a coverage period waiver is granted, the vessel is automatically added to the selection list for the next coverage period. Vessels continue to be added in subsequent selection lists until either an observer covers them or the selection cycle ends. Selection cycle waivers are given when a vessel had a serious safety concern not easily remedied and allow vessels to fish without an observer during all trips taken during the selection cycle.

Year of data Year of release Format
Coverage Waivers2014Excel

Observed Catch of Individual Species

Observed total catch is summarized in each sector for individual species or to the appropriate level of taxonomic identification. Total catch is calculated as the sum of discarded catch weight plus the retained catch weight. Because both the discarded and the retained weights are estimates; the observed estimates of total catch contain some uncertainty.

Catch Tables by Sector

Sector Years of data Year of release Format
At-sea hake 2002-2015 2016 Excel
Non-hake IFQ trawl and fixed gear 2011-2015 2016 Excel
Limited entry (LE) bottom trawl 2002-2010 2016 Excel
Limited entry (LE) sablefish endorsed fixed gear 2002-2015 2016 Excel
Limited entry (LE) non-sablefish endorsed fixed gear 2002-2015 2016 Excel
Open access (OA) fixed gear 2003-2015 2016 Excel
Nearshore fixed gear 2003-2015 2016 Excel
California halibut trawl 2002-2015 2016 Excel
Pink shrimp trawl 2004-2005, 2007-2015 2016 Excel
Shoreside hake 2011-2014 2016 Excel
IFQ Midwater 2015 2016 Excel
IFQ EM 2015 2016 Excel

Spatial Data Products

These maps of areas where fishing has occurred include scientific analysis of changes in fishing behavior and potential data bias. Detailed maps of tow/set-level fishing locations cannot be released due to confidentiality mandates. The temporal and spatial data products below have been aggregated and non-confidential.


Observed catch, bycatch, and fishing effort information is also available from the Pacific Coast Ocean Observing System (PaCOOS), a collaborative effort that provides the public with non-confidential observer products and environmental data (e.g., sea floor habitat). Managers, scientists and other interested parties use the spatially explicit data available on the PaCOOS West Coast Habitat Server to investigate and manage the U.S. West Coast ocean ecosystem. Metrics of fishing effort for observed sectors or gear types along the U.S. West Coast are mapped using Geographical Information System (GIS) software.

Depth Summary

The depths at which gear is fished is available by sector and year. Fishing depths collected by observers characterize where fishing occurs. Fishing depths are summarized as the percentage of tows/sets occurring within a depth range, by sector and year.

Year of data Year of release Format
Depth Summary 2002-20152016Excel

Biological Meta-data

Observers collect species specific biological information from individual specimens (e.g., length, weight, sex, age) that is summarized as the number of individuals sampled per species. These metadata are available by clicking on the table below.

Year of data Year of release Format
Biological Metadata2014Excel