US west coast

Metadata Updated: March 7, 2016

Aerial surveys are conducted along the US west coast to determine distribution and abundance of endangered leatherback turtles (Dermochelys coriacea), loggerhead turtles (Caretta caretta), and harbor porpoises (Phocoena phocoena). Surveys are conducted in waters between US/Mexico and US/Canada maritime borders, west to the 2000m isobath for leatherbacks, up to 122.8W for loggerheads, and in nearshore waters (approx 200m isobath) between central California and southern Oregon for harbor porpoise.

This region includes the Pacific leatherback conservation area (Federal Register notice 77 (17) FR 4170, January 26, 2012). Previous knowledge of leatherback turtle use of US EEZ waters in the Pacific Northwest came primarily from opportunistic sightings from platforms of opportunity, telemetry deployments that originated from western Pacific nesting beaches (Benson et al. 2007a; 2011), and a previous systematic survey conducted during 2010.

This region also includes a time-area closure off southern California that is to be triggered by warm water anomalies (50 CFR 660.713(c)(2)). This regulation was developed as result of a reasonable and prudent alternative following a formal consultation process as required by Section 7 of the ESA. NMFS developed the rule using information from the fishery observer program for the California drift gillnet fishery, in which all entanglements of loggerhead turtles occurred within a particular sea surface temperature range (15.6 to 22.2 °C). On July 25, 2014, NMFS published notification of an in-season closure for the DGN fishery through the end of August to protect loggerheads in the southern California Bight (79 FR 43268). Based on late spring/early summer forecasts by the Climate Prediction Center, which included an “El Niño watch,” NMFS determined that oceanographic conditions, including anomalously warm sea surface temperatures, warranted the closure. This was the first-ever implementation of this time-area closure, and has resulted in significant attention from commercial fishers, environmental groups, and state and federal agencies regarding the importance southern Californian waters for endangered loggerhead turtles. Little information is available on population abundance and spatial distribution of loggerhead turtles off southern California and how they may change during warm water periods. However, reports of loggerhead turtle sightings from divers and recreational fishers have increased in recent years and the rate of loggerhead strandings along the U.S. west coast is at an all-time high, indicating a regular presence of loggerheads off the coast (NMFS Turtle Stranding Database). Additionally, the Assistant Administrator for NMFS Protected Resources at the West Coast Regional Office has determined that a thorough re-examination of loggerhead time-area closure is a top priority; therefore, this survey is important and timely, given the current anomalously warm water temperatures off southern California.

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Metadata Date 2016-02-27T06:43:57.422-05:00
Metadata Created Date March 7, 2016
Metadata Updated Date March 7, 2016
Reference Date(s) (publication)
Frequency Of Update

Metadata Source

Harvested from NOAA CSW Harvest Source

Additional Metadata

Resource Type Dataset
Metadata Date 2016-02-27T06:43:57.422-05:00
Metadata Created Date March 7, 2016
Metadata Updated Date March 7, 2016
Reference Date(s) (publication)
Responsible Party Southwest Fisheries Science Center (Point of Contact)
Contact Email
Access Constraints Access Constraints: None | 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 -117
Bbox North Lat 48
Bbox South Lat 31
Bbox West Long -127
Coupled Resource
Frequency Of Update
Guid gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:30796
Harvest Object Id ef10f5ed-d30c-4fd7-a417-262653497437
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 2001

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