The Stenella Abundance Research Project (STAR) is a multi-year cetacean and ecosystem assessment study designed to assess the status of dolphin stocks which have been taken as incidental catch by the yellowfin tuna purse-seine fishery in the Eastern Tropical Pacific.
This is a collaborative research effort by an international team of scientists, including researchers from Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) and research colleagues from Mexico, to improve methods to detect and estimate abundance of the critically endangered vaquita, or Gulf of California harbor porpoise.
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.
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.
This research was devoted to studying sperm whale (Physeter macrocephalus) behavior. The principal study area for T-TOP and T-TOP2 was the Pioneer Seamount, 50 nautical miles west of Half Moon Bay, CA, and the waters off of central California. The ship searched for sperm whales on a daily basis depending on where the weather was expected to be the best for working and finding animals.
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) was mandated by the 1984 amendment to the Marine Mammal Protection Act to monitor trends in the abundance of dolphins in the eastern tropical Pacific (ETP) . The Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) has been conducting a variety of marine mammal surveys in the ETP and other areas of the Pacific Ocean. The purpose of these surveys has been to estimate the population sizes of cetacean species and monitor the impact of the commercial fisheries which incidentally kill dolphins. The 1992 survey was designed to make abundance estimates of the central stock of common dolphin, Delphinus delphis. This stock of dolphin is taken in the tropical tuna fishery and suffered a substantial decline (Anganuzzi et al. 1992). Previous surveys covering larger areas have permitted estimates of abundance, but with low precision (Wade and Gerrodette 1993). The 1992 survey was conducted by the NOAA Ships McArthur and David Starr Jordan.
The CSCAPE 2005 cruise was a collaboration between the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and the National Marine Sanctuary (NMS) Program to assess the abundance and distribution of marine mammals and to characterize the pelagic ecosystem off the U.S. West Coast.