Large Pelagic Carcass Weights (Vessels)

Metadata Updated: February 8, 2018

Swordfish have been a commercially caught species since the early 1800s. During this early stage of the fishery, harpoon was the principal gear and the fishing was limited to the northeastern coast of the United States during the summer and fall months. In the early 1960s, Norwegian and Japanese vessels began fishing these areas with surface longline gear. U.S. fishermen soon began using longline gear and the fishing quickly spread to the western North Atlantic and became a year-round fishery. Landings of swordfish steadily increased from this region while the fishing moved south as new vessels entered the fishery in areas from North Carolina southward to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. Surface longline gear soon became the predominant gear and now accounts for about 98 percent of the U.S. commercial swordfish catch in the North Atlantic. Before the mid-1980s, only limited data on the fishing activities from the U.S. pelagic longline fleet were collected. Data were collected by various state agencies, Fishery Management Councils, and university biologists from 1978 to 1983. These data consisted of weights for individual swordfish (headed, gutted and tailed) recorded on the weigh-out receipts (tally sheets) for the sales to vessels for an individual trip. In 1984, this database became the responsibility of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Center (SEFSC). As part of this transition, the data were standardized and entered into a computer database. In order to expand the coverage, biologists at the SEFSC contacted vessel captains/owners and fish dealers and requested that they voluntarily submit their tally sheets to the SEFSC for use in scientific investigations of the swordfish fishery. All of the data are coded and stored for the individual vessel that caught the fish. Quality control procedures established to compare with data previously entered to avoid duplication. Although swordfish were the primary commercial species caught and recorded on the sales receipts, the weights of other species were also listed on the tally sheets. Prior to 1985, the weigh-out data for the other (non-swordfish) species were not recorded. Beginning in 1986, the SEFSC began to enter all the weigh-out data for all species listed on the tally sheets received. The individual dress weights of other species listed on tally sheets from earlier years were entered as well. Each record includes a vessel code, date of landing, state and port landed, code of the dealer purchasing the catch, gear fished, data source, location code of general fishing area, total hooks fished, days of actual fishing, total number of sets, and a species code along with the individual carcass weights for each species. All records from a specific trip are identified by their respective vessel codes and date of landing. Prior to 1986, effort (hooks, days fished, number of sets) information was recorded from personal vessel logbooks voluntarily submitted by vessel captains/owners. Beginning in 1986, all pelagic longline vessels that actively fished are required to submit daily logbook set records for each trip. Based upon this information, fishing effort is determined and, subsequently, added to the longline database. The database contains information from the early 1960s (limited data) to the present and is almost exclusively comprised from data collected from the U.S. domestic pelagic longline fishery. Other gear types (harpoon, gillnet, handline, rod and reel, etc.) have been recorded from vessels voluntarily submitting the information or that were mandated to report by regulations in the past years. This database is continually updated as new information becomes available.

Access & Use Information

Downloads & Resources


Metadata Date July 21, 2017
Metadata Created Date March 21, 2016
Metadata Updated Date February 8, 2018
Reference Date(s) (publication)
Frequency Of Update

Metadata Source

Harvested from NOAA CSW Harvest Source

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Date July 21, 2017
Metadata Created Date March 21, 2016
Metadata Updated Date February 8, 2018
Reference Date(s) (publication)
Responsible Party (Point of Contact); Southeast Fisheries Science Center (Custodian)
Contact Email
Access Constraints Access Constraints: Waiver Needed | Use Constraints: Disclaimer - While every effort has been made to ensure that these data are accurate and reliable within the limits of the current state of the art, NOAA cannot assume liability for any damages caused by any errors or omissions in the data, nor as a result of the failure of the data to function on a particular system. NOAA makes no warranty, expressed or implied, nor does the fact of distribution constitute such a warranty.
Bbox East Long -40
Bbox North Lat 30
Bbox South Lat 0
Bbox West Long -100
Coupled Resource
Frequency Of Update
Guid gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:30712
Harvest Object Id 1fad372b-48e2-4618-976a-c01de3eb16b2
Harvest Source Id 2aed8e29-fc5b-4cde-aa66-fb1118fd705e
Harvest Source Title NOAA CSW Harvest Source
Metadata Language eng
Metadata Type geospatial
Progress onGoing
Spatial Data Service Type
Spatial Reference System
Spatial Harvester True
Temporal Extent Begin 1986

Didn't find what you're looking for? Suggest a dataset here.