In the summer and fall of 2018, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center conducted the California Current Ecosystem Survey (CCES). CCES was a line-transect survey for coastal pelagic fisheries stocks, marine mammals (cetaceans), seabirds, and ecosystem data, spanning the entire continental shelf and slope off the US West Coast, from Vancouver Island, Canada, to the California-Mexico border. Additional survey coverage for marine mammals and seabirds (but not fisheries stocks) was obtained off northern Baja California, Mexico, and in offshore areas beyond the continental shelf (out to approximately 200 nautical miles). CCES also included an extensive small-boat effort focused on collecting photo identification and tissue biopsies for large whales (especially humpback whales), and passive acoustic monitoring for deep-diving cetaceans (e.g., beaked whales) that are difficult to survey effectively using traditional visual line-transect survey methods. This report describes the collection, summarization, and analysis of cetacean and, to a lesser extent, seabird data from CCES. CCES was a survey of the Pacific Marine Assessment Partnership for Protected Species (PacMAPPS), a partnership between NOAA, BOEM, and the US Navy. PacMAPPS facilitates the regular collection and analysis of protected species data to service the shared monitoring and assessment requirements of all three agencies throughout the northeastern Pacific. This final report is a compendium of three NOAA Technical Memoranda, each provided as a separate Appendix. Appendix A (Henry et al. 2020) is the CCES cruise report, describing the methods for cetacean and seabird data collection and providing basic data summaries (e.g., maps and quantification of survey effort, numbers and maps of visual sightings for cetaceans and seabirds, number of photographs and biopsy samples). Appendix B (Simonis et al. 2020) provides an in-depth description of the passive acoustic component of CCES. Passive acoustic data were collected using Drifting Acoustic Spar Buoy Recorders (DASBRs). These data require extensive post-survey processing to identify which species were detected and where. Appendix B describes the methods for post-survey data processing and summarizes results in terms of the numbers of detection for deep diving cetaceans and their locations. Appendix C (Becker et al. 2020) presents the spatial density modeling (SDM) analysis based on visual line transect data collected from all California Current surveys conducted from 1991 through CCES 2018. Outputs include density surface maps for all modeled cetacean species and population size estimates for the survey area. Visual line-transect data (cetacean sightings and effort) for all California Current surveys from 1991 through 2018 have been or are in the process of being uploaded to OBIS-SEAMAP (Halpin et al. 2009; http://seamap.env.duke.edu/), from where they can be viewed and downloaded by the public. Spatial density surface layers based on survey data collected through 2014 will soon be available through NOAA’s CetMap webpage (https://cetsound.noaa.gov/cda-index) and through Density Mapper (https://seamap.env.duke.edu/models/Pacific-GOA/), a web-based mapping tool developed by Duke University.
- Appendix A: Cruise Report for the California Current Ecosystem Survey (Henry et al. 2020, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SWFSC-636)
- Appendix B: Detailed Report on the Passive Acoustic Monitoring Component of the California Current Ecosystem Survey for Deep-diving Cetaceans (Simonis et al. 2020, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SWFSC-630)
- Appendix C: Habitat-based Density Estimates for Cetaceans in the California Current Ecosystem Based on 1991–2018 Survey Data (Becker et al. 2020, NOAA Technical Memorandum NMFS-SWFSC-638)