California HMS Purse Seine Fishery

Program Coordinator: Lyle Enriquez

NMFS, Southwest Region
501 West Ocean Bvld.
Suite 4200
Long Beach, CA 90802-4213

(562) 980-4024

Observer Program Mandate and Authority

Mission of the program
To document the incidental take of marine mammals, sea turtles, seabirds, target and non-target fish species.

Fishery management

Authority to place observers
Marine Mammal Protection Act, Category II Fishery. West Coast Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan.

Voluntary or mandatory

Funding source

Annual program costs

Program duration
Since July 2004

Fishery Description

Target species
Yellowfin Tuna, Skipjack Tuna

Other commercially landed species
Dolphinfish, Skipjack Tuna, Yellowtail

Common mola, blue shark

Incidental takes

Gear type
Purse seine

Area of operation
Mostly coastal from central California to Mexico

Fleet size
6 vessels

Size range of vessels
50-70 feet

Annual catch of target species

Number of fishing days per year

Season of operation

Observer Program Management

Brief overview of program structure

The Southwest Region - Long Beach Office is responsible for monitoring the California/Oregon drift gillnet fishery, California coastal pelagic purse seine fishery, the California HMS purse seine fishery, the California pelagic longline fishery, and the Pacific albacore fishery. Observer training is conducted in conjunction with Southwest Fisheries Science Center - La Jolla Laboratory, NOAA Fisheries enforcement, U.S. Coast Guard, and the fishing industry. The Southwest Fisheries Science Center receives the observer data to calculate estimates of incidental take rates of marine mammals in preparation of the Annual Stock Assessment Reports the regional management team uses observer data to help manage the pacific coast fisheries.

Service delivery type and function of each entity: NOAA Fisheries is responsible for observer training, debriefing, data entry, and data management. A NOAA Fisheries approved contractor is responsible for observer recruitment, monitoring vessel activity, observer deployment, logistics, insurance/benefits, and delivery of observer data to NOAA Fisheries. Vessel owners and operators are responsible for contacting the designated contractor to make arrangements for mandatory placement of NOAA Fisheries trained observers aboard their vessels.


Other participating agencies

Number of observers

Observers employed by

Average deployment length
6 days

Average observer retention rate
2.5 years

Observers unionized

Observer Coverage

Average number of fishing days

Unit and definition of fishing effort for purpose of estimating coverage
One set is equaled to one unit effort where is a set is defined as the deployment, encircling and hauling of a purse seine net.

Percent Observer Coverage