Aerial sardine surveys in the Southern California Bight

Aerial sardine surveys in the Southern California Bight

16 Pages · 2015 · 1.08 MB ·

2012 and have continued through the spring and summer 2013 seasons Sampling design for aerial sardine surveys on coastal and open water 

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260 Aerial sardine surveys in the Southern California Bight KirK l ynn *, d ianna Porzio , and a lex K eSariS California Department of Fish and Wildlife, 8901 La Jolla Shores Drive, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA (KL) California Department of Fish and Wildlife, 4665 Lampson Avenue, Suite C, Los Alamitos, CA 90720, USA (DP) California Department of Fish and Wildlife, 3883 Ruffin Road, San Diego, CA 92123, USA (AK) *Correspondent: [email protected] Current survey indices used in annual stock assessments to manage the federal Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax caerulea) fishery do not include nearshore sardine biomass in southern California waters This survey uses direct observer estimates of sardine biomass in nearshore and offshore waters of the Southern California Bight to calculate an index of relative abundance Surveys have been conducted since summer of 2012 and have continued through the spring and summer 2013 seasons Aerial identifications of fish school species have been validated using boat sampling of aerial sightings, and demographic information obtained from collected samples Additionally, habitat analyses compared sardine distribution with environmental variables (sea surface temperature and chlorophyll a concentrations) Key Words: sardine, Sardinops sagax caerulea, Southern California Bight, aerial survey, fishery management ________________________________________________________________________ Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax caerulea ; sardine) is an important commercial fishery off the Pacific coast of North America Once the largest fishery in North America, it has rebounded from a stock collapse in the 1940s to rank among the top fisheries in California since the early 1990s Two seasonally migrating stocks inhabit the waters of the California Current, a northern stock ranging from Punta Eugenia, Mexico to southern Alaska; and a southern stock from southern Baja California, Mexico to Point Conception, California (FelixUraga et al 2004, 2005; Smith 2005) The fishery, as defined by the northern stock, has been federally managed since 2000 by the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) under the Coastal Pelagic Species Fishery Management Plan (PFMC 1998) Annual coast wide harvest limits for the northern stock are derived from biomass estimates generated by California Fish and Game 100(2):260275; 2014 Vol 100, No 2 CaliFornia FiSh and gaMe 261 an annual stock assessment (Hill et al 2014) The stock assessment develops a population model that incorporates various data sources, such as age, other biological information, and multiple research surveys Surveys have included daily and total egg production (DEPM, TEP) surveys conducted in the spring by the Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC) of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) in offshore waters within and around the Southern California Bight (SCB) and off the central coast of California (Lasker 1985, Lo et al 2011); SWFSC coastwide acoustictrawl surveys (Demer et al 2012); and an aerial survey in the Pacific Northwest conducted since 2009 by the northwest sardine fishing industry (NWSS; Jagielo et al 2012) The sardine stock assessment has previously used aerial survey results from a spotter pilot survey, which was flown from 1985 to 2005 and covered the area from central California to Baja California, Mexico; however, this survey was removed from the assessment in 2007 (Lo et al 1992, Hill

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