The Hawaiian Islands Cetacean and Ecosystem Assessment Survey, called HICEAS, is a marine mammal assessment survey of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Hawaiian waters out to a distance of approximately 200 nautical miles. The 2010 survey was a collaborative research effort between NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) and NOAA Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC).
This project was part of a larger international project (SPLASH) designed to estimate the abundance and determine the population structure for humpback whales throughout the North Pacific involving the governments of Canada and Mexico as well as multiple agencies within the government of the U.S. The primary study methods were photo-identification and biopsy sampling. Passive acoustics were used to aid in finding aggregations of whales. In addition, biological and oceanographic data were collected to better characterize the whale’s environment, and survey data were collected for all other cetacean and pinniped species observed. Biopsy samples were also taken from other cetacean species, primarily in areas where they have been poorly sampled in the past. The Hawaiian Island Humpback Whale Sanctuary (HIHWS) collaborated on this cruise by sending two skilled photographers on each leg of survey effort. The U.S. Navy collaborated on this cruise by funding the acoustic and oceanographic sampling.
The California Current Cetacean and Ecosystem Assessment Survey (CalCurCEAS) is a marine mammal assessment survey of the U.S. West Coast waters. Similar research in this geographic area was conducted under the name of ORCAWALE (for Oregon, California, and Washington Line-transect Experiment) in previous years.
The 1997 Sperm Whale Abundance and Population Structures (SWAPS) line-transect survey was designed to census sperm whales near the end of their breeding season in the North Pacific Ocean from the west coast of the continental U.S. out to an area near the Hawaiian Islands. This survey was conducted by the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) aboard the NOAA ship McArthur for a total of approximately 12,000 kilometers surveyed from early March to early June 1997.
In 1986 the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) initiated a long-term, large-scale research program to monitor trends in the abundance of dolphin populations in the eastern tropical Pacific (ETP).
PICEAS (Pacific Islands Cetacean Ecosystem Assessment Survey) 2005 was an ecosystem survey in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) waters of Palmyra and Johnston Atoll and adjacent waters south of Hawaii where Hawaiian long-line fishing occurs.
The Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) has conducted a variety of marine mammal surveys in the eastern tropical Pacific (ETP) and other areas of the Pacific Ocean. The purpose of these surveys has been to estimate cetacean population sizes and to monitor the impact of incidental kill due to commercial fisheries, particularly the tropical purse-seine fishery for yellowfin and skipjack tuna. The northern stock of common dolphin, Delphinus delphis, is taken in the purse-seine tuna fishery (Hall and Lennert 1994). The index of relative abundance for this stock computed from sightings on tuna vessels has declined substantially in the last decade (Anganuzzi and Buckland 1994). However, because tuna vessels cover only the southern portion of the stock’s range, the declines in the index may be due to a northward shift in distribution, rather than an actual decline in abundance. There has been an increase in abundance of tropical delphinids and a decrease in abundance of temperate delphinids during this period in California waters, accompanied by a general warming trend in ocean temperature (Barlow, 1993). Previous research vessel surveys have covered either northern (Hill and Barlow 1992) or southern (Wade and Gerrodette 1993) parts of the range of the northern common dolphin, but neither of these surveys have covered the middle portion of the range off the coast of northern Baja California. The 1993 survey was designed to produce the first range-wide estimates of abundance for the northern common dolphin and its recently described congener, Delphinus capensis (Heyning and Perrin, 1994) . The 1993 survey was conducted by the NOAA Ships McArthur and David Starr Jordan.
This survey focused on two species of common dolphin: the short-beaked common dolphin, Delphinus delphis, and the long-beaked common dolphin, Delphinus capensis , off southern California, USA and Baja California, Mexico.