California Current map

The California Current Ecosystem (CCE) is a dynamic environment in the eastern North Pacific Ocean. Spanning nearly 3,000 km from southern British Columbia, Canada to Baja California, Mexico, the California Current encompasses the United States Exclusive Economic Zone, the coastal land-sea interface, and adjacent terrestrial watersheds along the West Coast. This highly productive coastal ecosystem is fueled by the seasonal upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich water. These seasonal episodes of productivity support populations of krill, squid, sardines, and other species that are fed upon by larger fishes, seabirds and marine mammals. Broad-scale climate forcing related to El Niño / La Niña events and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation help determine how much upwelling will occur at points along the coast in a given year. These waters support some of the most productive fisheries in the world. Millions of dollars are paid directly to fishermen from commercial fishery landings, and over 100,000 jobs on and off the water are supported by the coast's seafood industry. Fisheries are an important part of California Current's economy, culture, and history and provide a wide variety of sustainable and local seafood.

Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO)

graph of Pacific Decadal Oscillation 1980-2020

Values correspond to Index scores

 

Description of time series:

Positive PDO values typically mean cool surface water conditions in the interior of the North Pacific Ocean and warm surface waters along the North American Pacific Coast while negative PDO conditions typically mean warm surface water conditions in the interior to the North Pacific Ocean and cool surface waters along the North American Pacific Coast. During the last five years, the PDO indicator shows a significant downward trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The unitless two-way gauge depicts whether the average of the last 5 years of data for the climate indicator is above or below the median value of the entire time series. High values in either direction mean extreme variation from the median value of the entire time series. 

 

Description of Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO):

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) is a long-term pattern of Pacific climate variability. The extreme phases of this climatic condition are classified as warm or cool, based on deviations from average ocean temperature in the northeast and central North Pacific Ocean. When the PDO has a positive value, sea surface temperatures are below average (cool) in the interior North Pacific and warm along the Pacific Coast. When the PDO has a negative value, the climate patterns are reversed, with above average sea surface temperatures in the interior and sea surface temperatures below average along the North American coast. The PDO waxes and wanes; warm and cold phases may persist for decades. Major changes in northeast Pacific marine ecosystems have been correlated with phase changes in the PDO. Warm phases have seen enhanced coastal ocean biological productivity in Alaska and inhibited productivity off the west coast of the United States, while cold PDO phases have seen the opposite, north-south pattern of marine ecosystem productivity. We present data from the Pacific Islands, Alaska, and California Current regions.

 

Data Background:

Climate indicator data was accessed from the NOAA NCEI (https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/teleconnections/pdo/data.csv). The data plotted are unitless and based on Sea Surface Temperature anomalies averaged across a given region.

East Pacific - North Pacific Teleconnection Pattern Index (EP-NP)

graph of East Pacific-North Pacific index 1980-2020

Values correspond to Index scores

 

Description of time series:

Positive EP-NP values mean above-average surface temperatures over the eastern North Pacific, and below-average temperatures over the central North Pacific and eastern North America and the opposite for negative EP-NP values. During the last five years, the EP-NP indicator shows no significant trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The unitless two-way gauge depicts whether the average of the last 5 years of data for the climate indicator is above or below the median value of the entire time series. High values in either direction mean extreme variation from the median value of the entire time series. 

 

Description of East Pacific - North Pacific Teleconnection Pattern Index:

The East Pacific - North Pacific Teleconnection Pattern Index is a measure of climate variability. Positive EP-NP values mean above-average surface temperatures over the eastern North Pacific, and below-average temperatures over the central North Pacific and eastern North America and the opposite for negative EP-NP values.

 

This climate condition impacts people and ecosystems across the globe and each of the indicators presented here. Interactions between the ocean and atmosphere alter weather around the world and can result in severe storms or mild weather, drought, or flooding. Beyond “just” influencing the weather and ocean conditions, these changes can produce secondary results that influence food supplies and prices, forest fires and flooding, and create additional economic and political consequences. The positive phase of the EP-NP pattern is associated with above-average surface temperatures over the eastern North Pacific, and below-average temperatures over the central North Pacific and eastern North America. The main precipitation anomalies associated with this pattern reflect above-average precipitation in the area north of Hawai'i and below-average precipitation over southwestern Canada.

 

Data Background:

Climate indicator data was accessed from Columbia University (https://iridl.ldeo.columbia.edu/SOURCES/.NOAA/.NCEP/.CPC/.Indices/.NHTI…). The data plotted are unitless anomalies and averaged across a given region.

 

El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)

graph of Oceanic Nino anomaly index 1980-2020

Values correspond to Index scores

 

Description of time series:

The Oceanic Niño Index (ONI) is NOAA’s primary index for monitoring the El Niño-Southern Oscillation climate pattern. It is based on Sea Surface Temperature values in a particular part of the central equatorial Pacific, which scientists refer to as the Niño 3.4 region. Positive values of this indicator, greater than +0.5, indicate warm El Niño conditions, while negative values, less than -0.5, indicate cold La Niña conditions. The ONI indicator changed from positive to negative during the summer of 2020, and is now showing La Niña conditions, though it is once again approaching 0 as of summer 2021.

 

Description of gauge:

The unitless two-way gauge depicts the most recent seasonal value for the ONI showing how far it is above or below the median value of the entire time series. High values in either direction mean extreme variation from the median value of the entire time series. 

 

Description of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO):

El Niño and La Niña are opposite phases of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), a cyclical condition occurring across the Equatorial Pacific Ocean with worldwide effects on weather and climate. During an El Niño, surface waters in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific become warmer than average and the trade winds - blowing from east to west - greatly weaken. During a La Niña, surface waters in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific become much cooler, and the trade winds become much stronger. El Niños and La Niñas generally last about 6 months but can extend up to  2 years. The time between events is irregular, but generally varies between 2-7 years. To monitor ENSO conditions, NOAA operates a network of buoys, which measure temperature, currents, and winds in the equatorial Pacific. 

 

This climate pattern impacts people and ecosystems around the world. Interactions between the ocean and atmosphere alter weather globally and can result in severe storms or mild weather, drought or flooding. Beyond “just” influencing the weather and ocean conditions, these changes can produce secondary results that influence food supplies and prices, forest fires and flooding, and create additional economic and political consequences. For example, along the west coast of the U.S., warm El Niño events are known to inhibit the delivery of nutrients from subsurface waters, suppressing local fisheries. El Niño events are typically associated with fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic while La Niña events typically result in greater numbers of Atlantic hurricanes.

 

Data Background:

ENSO ONI data was accessed from NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory (https://psl.noaa.gov/data/timeseries/monthly/NINO4/). The data are plotted in degrees Celsius and represent Sea Surface Temperature anomalies averaged across the so-called Niño 3.4 region in the east-central tropical Pacific between 120°-170°W.

Multivariate El Niño-Southern Oscillation Index

graph of Multivariate ENSO index 1980-2020

Values correspond to Index scores

 

Description of time series:

Like the Oceanic Niño Index, positive MEI values indicate warm, El Niño conditions and negative MEI values indicate cold, La Niña conditions. The MEI indicator changed from positive to negative during the summer of 2020, and has since shown La Niña conditions.

 

Description of gauge:

The unitless two-way gauge depicts the most recent seasonal value for the MEI showing how far it is above or below the median value of the entire time series. High values in either direction mean extreme variation from the median value of the entire time series. 

 

Description of Multivariate El Niño-Southern Oscillation Index:

The Multivariate El Niño-Southern Oscillation Index (MEI) is a more holistic representation of the atmospheric and oceanic conditions that occur during ENSO events and characterizes their intensity. MEI is determined from five variables from the central and eastern equatorial Pacific (Sea-level pressure, surface wind components, sea surface temperature, surface air temperature, and cloudiness) while ENSO ONI is calculated from only two (sea surface temperature and trade wind strength). This index is calculated twelve times per year for each sliding bi-monthly season i.e. Dec-Jan, Jan-Feb, Feb-Mar, etc. We present data from the Pacific Islands, Alaska, and California Current regions.

 

This climate condition impacts people and ecosystems across the globe and each of the indicators presented here. Interactions between the ocean and atmosphere alter weather around the world and can result in severe storms or mild weather, drought, or flooding. Beyond “just” influencing the weather and ocean conditions, these changes can produce secondary results that influence food supplies and prices, forest fires and flooding, and create additional economic and political consequences.

 

Data Background:

MEI data was accessed from NOAA’s Earth Systems Research Laboratory (https://psl.noaa.gov/enso/mei/). The data plotted are unitless anomalies.

Sea Surface Temperature

California Current sea surface temperature

Sea surface temperature is defined as the average temperature of the top few millimeters of the ocean. Sea surface temperature monitoring tells us how the ocean and atmosphere interact, as well as providing fundamental data on the global climate system

 

Description of time series:

The time series shows the integrated sea surface temperature for the California Current region.  During the last five years there has been no notable trend and values have remained within the 10th and 90th percentiles.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 85 indicates that the mean sea surface temperature between 2016 and 2020 for the California Current region was higher than 85% of the temperatures between 1982 and 2020.

 

Indicator and source information:

The SST data were accessed from (https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oisst).  The data are plotted in degrees Celsius. 

 

Description of Sea Surface Temperature:

Sea surface temperature (SST) is defined as the temperature of the top few millimeters of the ocean. This temperature directly or indirectly  impacts the rate of all physical, chemical, and most biological processes occurring in the ocean. SST is globally monitored by sensors on satellites, buoys, ships, ocean reference stations, autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and other technologies. 

 

SST monitoring tells us how the ocean and atmosphere interact, as well as providing fundamental data on the global climate system. This information also aids us in weather prediction, i.e. identifying the onset of El Niño and La Niña cycles - multiyear shifts in atmospheric pressure and wind speeds. These shifts affect ocean circulation, global weather patterns, and marine ecosystems. SST anomalies have been linked to shifting marine resources. With warming temperatures, we observe the poleward movements of fish and other species. Temperature extremes—both ocean heatwaves and cold spells—have been linked to coral bleaching as well as fishery and aquaculture mortality. We present the annual average SST at the Large Marine Ecosystem scale in all regions.

 

Data background and limitations:

To compensate for platform differences and sensor biases, satellite and ship observations are referenced to buoys. These data are NOAA 1/4° Daily Optimum Interpolation Sea Surface Temperature (version 2.1). Measurements of SST served through this portal incorporate data obtained from various platforms such as satellites, buoys, Argo floats, and ships. 

Sea Level

Coastal Sea Level from Tide Gauges

graph of coastal sea level for Northeast US from 1980-2020

Sea level varies due to the force of gravity, the Earth’s rotation and irregular features on the ocean floor. Other forces affecting sea levels include temperature, wind, ocean currents, tides, and other similar processes.

 

Description of time series:

The time series shows the relative sea level, water height as compared to nearby land level, for the California Current region.  During the last five years there has been no notable trend and values have remained within the 10th and 90th percentiles of all observed data in the time series.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 78 indicates that the sea level between 2016 and 2020 for the California Current region was higher than 78% of the sea level between 1980 and 2020.

 

Description of Sea Level:

Sea level varies due to the force of gravity, the Earth’s rotation and irregular features on the ocean floor. Other forces affecting sea levels include temperature, wind, ocean currents, tides, and other similar processes. With 40 percent of Americans living in densely populated coastal areas, having a clear understanding of sea level trends is critical to societal and economic well being.

 

Measuring and predicting sea levels, tides and storm surge are important for determining coastal boundaries, ensuring safe shipping, emergency preparedness, and other aspects of the well-being of coastal communities. 

 

Indicator and source information:

NOAA monitors sea levels using tide stations and satellite laser altimeters. Tide stations around the globe tell us what is happening at local levels, while satellite measurements provide us with the average height of the entire ocean. Taken together, data from these sources are fed into models that tell us how our ocean sea levels are changing over time. For this site, data from tide stations around the US were combined to create regionally averaged records of sea-level change since 1980. We present data for all regions' coastal areas at the Large Marine Ecosystem Scale.

 

Data background and limitations:

Sea level data presented here are measurements of relative sea level, water height as compared to nearby land level, from NOAA tide gauges that have >20 years of hourly data served through NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS) Tides and Currents website. These local measurements are regionally averaged by taking the median value of all the qualifying stations within a region. The measurements are in meters and are relative to the year 2000.

Chlorophyll-a

Chlorophyll-A time series for California Current

Chlorophyll a, a pigment produced by phytoplankton, can be measured to determine the amount of phytoplankton present in water bodies. From a human perspective, high values of chlorophyll a can be good (abundance of nutritious diatoms as food for fish) or bad (Harmful Algal Blooms that may cause respiratory distress for people), based on the associated phytoplankton species.

 

Description of time series:

This time series shows the average concentration levels of chlorophyll ɑ for the  California Current region. During the last five years there has been a significant upward trend while values have remained within the 10th and 90th percentiles of all observed data in the time series

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 22 indicates that between 2016 and 2020 the average concentration levels of chlorophyll a in the California Current region were considerably lower than the long term median of all chlorophyll ɑ concentration levels between 1998 and 2020.

 

Gauge values

0–10: Chlorophyll a was significantly lower than the long term median state.

10–25: Chlorophyll a was considerably lower than the long term median state.

25–50: Chlorophyll a was slightly lower than the long term median state.

50: Chlorophyll a was at the long term median state.

50–75: Chlorophyll a was slightly higher than the long term median state.

75–90: Chlorophyll a was considerably higher than the long term median state.

90–100: Chlorophyll a was significantly higher than the long term median state.

 

Description of Chlorophyll a:

Phytoplankton are microscopic plants at the base of most marine food webs and produce nearly half of the Earth’s oxygen. One way we estimate the number of phytoplankton in the ocean is by measuring the amount  of chlorophyll a in the water.  Chlorophyll a is a green pigment (the same pigment that makes tree leaves appear green) that the phytoplankton use to absorb sunlight. The amount (or concentration) of chlorophyll a in surface waters  can be calculated by measuring the color of the water ( also referred to as “ocean color”) which can be “seen” by sensors on satellites in space almost like your eyes see the color of the ocean. Environmental and oceanographic factors continuously influence the abundance, species composition, spatial distribution, and productivity of phytoplankton. Tracking the amount of phytoplankton in the ocean conveys the status of the base of the food web, and how much food is available for other animals. Changes in the amount of phytoplankton in the ocean are part of the natural seasonal cycle (similar to seasonal changes of plants on land), but can also indicate an ecosystem’s response to a major external disturbance such as a hurricane or typhoon.

 

Indicator and source information:

The data for this Chlorophyll a annual indicator were provided by the NOAA Fisheries Coastal and Oceanic Plankton Ecology, Production, and Observations Database (COPEPOD).  COPEPOD determined the annual Large Marine Ecosystem (LME) chlorophyll a concentrations using mapped, monthly composites of chlorophyll a concentration as calculated from radiance measurements ("ocean color") made by the SeaWiFS and MODIS-Aqua satellite sensors.   These monthly composites were obtained from NASA (https://oceancolor.gsfc.nasa.gov/).  Annual means for each LME for each year were calculated from the average of the LME 12 monthly means in that year.  The overall “National Annual Mean mean was calculated as the average of all LME annual means. See the Data Background section for more details.  Source: https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/copepod/about/about-copepod.html.

To learn more about satellite-based chlorophyll a measurements within NOAA or to supplement the time series data shown here, please visit NOAA CoastWatch for more information and assistance.

 

Data background and limitations:

Satellite chlorophyll a, 9 km mapped, monthly composited data from SeaWiFS and MODIS-Aqua NASA products were spatially re-binned into 0.5 degree latitude by 0.5 degree longitude boxes (nominally about 50 km2 near the equator) then those ~50 km2 box values were averaged over the area of a given LME, resulting in 12 values per LME, one value for each month.  The annual LME chlorophyll a amount reported here is the average of those 12 monthly values.  This technique was done for each LME from North America and Hawaii.  The overall “National Annual Mean mean was calculated as the average of all the LME annual means.  Note that chlorophyll a  is often plotted on a logarithmic scale to accentuate proportional changes.  In other words, small changes in concentration when amounts are relatively low could mean a very big proportional change in the phytoplankton whereas the same change in absolute concentration when concentrations are relatively large is less meaningful.

 

Zooplankton

Zooplankton time series California Current

Description of time series:

Between 2015 and 2019 the average concentration of zooplankton biomass showed no significant trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 62 indicates that between 2015 and 2019 the average concentration of zooplankton biomass was higher than the median value of all zooplankton biomass concentration levels between 1980 through 2019.

 

Gauge values

High values of zooplankton can be good (lots of lipid rich colder water species) or bad (lots of lipid poor warmer water species), depending on the region.

 

0 - 10: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is very low compared to the median value.

10 - 25: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is much lower than the median value.

25 - 50: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is lower than the median value.

 50: The five-year zooplankton biomass average equals the median value.

50 - 75: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is higher than the median value.

75 - 90: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is much higher than the median value.

90 - 100: The five-year zooplankton biomass average is very high compared to the median value.

 

Description of Zooplankton:

Zooplankton are a diverse group of animals found in oceans, bays, and estuaries. By eating phytoplankton, and each other, zooplankton play a significant role in the transfer of materials and energy up the oceanic food web (e.g., fish, birds, marine mammals, humans.) Like phytoplankton, environmental and oceanographic factors continuously influence the abundance, composition and spatial distribution of zooplankton. These include the abundance and type of phytoplankton present in the water, as well as the water’s temperature, salinity, oxygen, and pH. Zooplankton can rapidly react to changes in their environment. For this reason monitoring the status of zooplankton is essential for detecting changes in, and evaluating the status of ocean ecosystems. We present the annual average total biovolume of zooplankton in the Alaska, California Current, Gulf of Mexico, Hawai'i-Pacific Islands and Northeast regions.

 

Indicator information

Zooplankton data for each region were obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Coastal & Oceanic Plankton Ecology, Production, & Observations Database, an integrated data set of quality-controlled, globally distributed plankton biomass and abundance data with common biomass units and served in a common electronic format with supporting documentation and access software. California Current specific data comes from the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) program: https://calcofi.org/

 

Data Background and Caveats:

Unlike previous years, all value are now standardized to "ml/m3". For example, EcoMon data units went from "ml/100m3" to just "ml/m3", but that did not affect the shape of the trends as it is a linear multiplicative factor. CalCOFI, however, went from "ml/m2" to "ml/m3", and the trend has changed noticeably.  It is now noisier and no clear trend.  One converts "ml/m2" to "ml/m3" by dividing by the towing depth (m).  That is a non-linear muplicative factor, so it can affect each data point and change the data shape.

HI -Note that Hawai’i is Wet Mass (g/m3) , not DV (ml/m3).  

Finally, a log10 value frequency histogram of the raw data values showed that 99.9% of the DV  data values were less than 15 ml/m3.   To reduce the impact of large outliers (i.e., due to a large jellyfish or an algal mat caught in the net), any DV value greater than 15 was capped at a value of just 15. Again, this would only affect < 0.1% of the data.  In some extreme cases, original DV values were over 100+ ... which greatly skewed the means and trends if not removed. This is actually standard practice.   CalCOFI offers both a "large" and "small" DV value (with the latter having large values removed), for example, and some programs automatically remove any plankter larger than the 5 cm length from the net sample before measuring the DV.

Zooplankton data for each region were obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Coastal & Oceanic Plankton Ecology, Production, & Observations Database, an integrated data set of quality-controlled, globally distributed plankton biomass and abundance data with common biomass units and served in a common electronic format with supporting documentation and access software. Source: https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/copepod/about/about-copepod.html

It should be noted that these data are collected across multiple surveys and using multiple sampling approaches for the California Current LME.

 

Forage Fish

forage fish time series California Current

Values correspond to relative coolwater forage abundance index score

 

Time series: Between 2015 and 2019 the biomass of forage fish showed no significant trend.

 

Description of gauge: The gauge value of 90 indicates that between 2015 and 2019 the biomass of forage fish (CPUE) in the California Current region was much greater than the median value of all forage fish biomass between 1992 and 2019

 

Gauge values

0 - 10: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is very low compared to the median value.

10 - 25: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is much lower than the median value.

25 - 50: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is lower than the median value.

50: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average equals the median value.

50 - 75: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is higher than the median value.

75 - 90: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is much higher than the median value.

90 - 100: The five-year forage fish small pelagics average is very high compared to the median value.

 

Indicator information:

Forage fish or otherwise known as small pelagics are fish and invertebrates (like squids) that inhabit - the pelagic zone - the open ocean. Small pelagic species are often important to fisheries and serve as forage for commercially and recreationally important fish, as well as other ecosystem species (e.g. seabirds and marine mammals). The number and distribution of pelagic fish vary regionally, depending on multiple physical and ecological factors (i.e., the availability of light, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, temperature, salinity, predation, abundance of phytoplankton and zooplankton, etc.). Small pelagics are known to exhibit “boom and bust” cycles of abundance in response to these conditions. Examples include anchovies, sardines, shad, menhaden and the fish that feed on them.

This indicator is produced by the California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment team and includes the following species: larval anchovy (Engraulis mordax); coolwater larval fish (NA, multi-species); warmwater larval fish (NA, multi-species); larval hake (Merluccius productus); larval market squid (Doryteuthis opalescens); larval pac jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus); larval sanddab (Citharichthys spp.); larval sardine (Sardinops sagax); larval shortbelly rockfish (Sebastes jordani)

 

Data background and caveats:

Units, time series, and species vary by region for this indicator, so no national score is provided. Best practices and caveats vary by region:

This indicator only includes data from surveys of the southern extent of the California Current region in the Spring. Index calculations are as follows: Larval fish data summed across all stations of the CalCOFI survey in spring (units are in number under 10 sq. m of surface area; ln(abundance+1)).

 

 

Seabirds

Cassin's Auklet Spring Southern California Current

Seabird time series for California Current

Values indicate estimated seabird abundance using a relative population anomaly score

 

Description of time series:

Between 2015 and 2019 the seabird density anomaly showed no significant trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 48 indicates that between 2015 and 2019 the seabird density anomaly (Cassins Auklet spring) in the California Current region (Southern) was lower than the median of all density anomaly values between 1987 and 2019.

 

Overall Scores means the following:

  • 0 - 10: The five-year seabirds average is very low compared to the median value.
  • 10 - 25: The five-year seabirds average is much lower than the median value.
  • 25 - 50: The five-year seabirds average is lower than the median value.
  • 50: The five-year seabirds average equals the median value.
  • 50 - 75: The five-year seabirds average is higher than the median value.
  • 75 - 90: The five-year seabirds average is much higher than the median value.
  • 90 - 100: The five-year seabirds average is very high compared to the median value.

 

Description of seabirds:

Seabirds are a vital part of marine ecosystems and valuable indicators of an ecosystem’s status.  Seabirds are attracted to fishing vessels and frequently get hooked or entangled in fishing gear, especially longline fisheries. This is a common threat to seabirds. Depending on the geographic region, fishermen in the United States often interact with albatross, cormorants, gannet, loons, pelicans, puffins, gulls, storm-petrels, shearwaters, terns, and many other species. We track seabirds because of their importance to marine food webs, but also as an indication of efficient fishing practices.  We present estimates of seabird abundance in the Alaska, California Current, Gulf of Mexico and Northeast regions.

 

Indicator and Source Information:

Data are from CalCOFI surveys (http://calcofi.org/field-work/underway-observations/380-bird-observatio…), courtesy of Dr. Bill Sydeman of the Farallon Institute (wsydeman@faralloninstitute.org) and displays information about Cassin’s Auklet (Ptychoramphus aleuticus)  observed in Spring. Data are shipboard counts, transformed as ln(bird density/km2 +1) and expressed as an anomaly of log density relative to the long-term mean.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

Data displayed here only represent the estimated density of one species for one season in one region of the California Current Ecosystem. Values for the last three years are exactly the same, as the number of individuals identified has been the same.

Overfished Stocks

Overfished stocks time series for California Current

The x-axis represents years. The y-axis represents the number of fish stocks or fish populations that are deemed by NOAA as overfished. Overfished means the population of fish is too low. Therefore the population can not support a large amount of fishing.

 

Description of time series:

The series shows the number of fish populations that have qualified as overfished since 2000. Between 2016 and 2020 the number of overfished stocks shows an upward trend.

 

Description of gauge:

Gauge analysis was not appropriate for these data.

 

Overall Scores mean the following:

High values for overfished stocks are bad, low numbers are good.

  • 0 - 10: The five-year overfished stock status average is very low compared to the median value.
  • 10 - 25: The five-year overfished stock status average is much lower than the median value.
  • 25 - 50: The five-year overfished stock status average is lower than the median value.
  • 50: The five-year overfished stock status average equals the median value.
  • 50 - 75: The five-year overfished stock status average is higher than the median value.
  • 75 - 90: The five-year overfished stock status average is much higher than the median value.
  • 90 - 100: The five-year overfished stock status average is very high compared to the median value.

 

Description of Overfished Stocks:

An overfished stock is a population of fish that is too low. From a technical standpoint, a stock that is overfished is depleted below a minimum level and active rebuilding is required. Stocks that are overfished cannot support a large amount of fishing. A fish stock can be listed as overfished as the result of many factors including overfishing, habitat degradation, pollution, climate change, and disease. The Magnuson-Stevens Act requires the status of overfished stocks be reported annually.

Stock assessments provide information to determine if a stock is overfished or experiencing overfishing (harvest higher than a maximum fishing threshold). This is done by estimating fishing intensity and the abundance of fish stocks and comparing those estimates to management reference points. Stock assessments can provide the science that supports the steps necessary to rebuild overfished stocks to sustainable levels.

It is important to track the status of fish stocks because fish play an important role in marine ecosystems, such as supporting the ecological structure of many marine food webs. Fish also support significant parts of coastal economies including recreational and commercial fisheries, and play an important cultural role in many regions.  

This site presents the number of overfished stocks by year in all US Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs)

 

Data Source:

Data were obtained from the NOAA Fisheries Fishery Stock Status website. Stocks that met the criteria for overfished status were summed by year for each region.

Threatened/Endangered Marine Mammals

Endangered Species Act threatened/ endangered species

Number of threatened/endangered marine mammal stock from 1980-2019

Values Correspond to the Number of ESA Threatened or Endangered Species in a given region

 

Data Interpretation

Gauge and Trend Analyses were not appropriate for marine mammal data.

 

Data Background and Caveats

NOAA Fisheries goes through required regulatory steps to list, reclassify, or delist a species under the ESA. For more information, see a step-by-step description of the ESA listing process. The listing process requires time and resources; as a result, the timing and number of listed marine species is not necessarily indicative of the actual number of currently endangered or threatened species and the exact timing of when these species became eligible to be listed under the ESA. Many marine species were initially listed when the ESA was passed in 1973; others have taken more time to be listed, and some have been reclassified or delisted since then.

Description of Threatened and Endangered Marine Mammals (ESA):

NOAA Fisheries is responsible for the protection, conservation, and recovery of endangered and threatened marine and anadromous species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA aims to conserve these species and the ecosystems they depend on. Under the ESA, a species is considered endangered if it is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range, or threatened if it is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range See a species directory of all the threatened and endangered marine species under NOAA Fisheries jurisdiction, including marine mammals. 

Under the ESA, a species must be listed if it is threatened or endangered because of any of the following 5 factors:

1) Present or threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or range;

2) Over-utilization of the species for commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes;

3) Disease or predation;

4) Inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms; and

5) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its continued existence.

The ESA requires that listing determinations be based solely on the best scientific and commercial information available; economic impacts are not considered in making species listing determinations and are prohibited under the ESA. There are two ways by which a species may come to be listed (or delisted) under the ESA:

- NOAA Fisheries receives a petition from a person or organization requesting that NOAA lists a species as threatened or endangered, reclassify a species, or delist a species.

- NOAA Fisheries voluntarily chooses to examine the status of a species by initiating a status review of a species.

Strategic/Depleted Marine Mammal Stocks

Marine Mammal Protection Act strategic & depleted stocks

Strategic/depleted marine mammals time series for California Current

Values correspond to the number of MMPA Strategic or Depleted Marine Mammal Species listed each year in each region

 

Data Interpretation

Gauge and Trend Analyses were not appropriate for marine mammal data.

 

Data Background and Caveats

NOAA Fisheries prepares marine mammal stock assessment reports to track the status of marine mammal stocks. Some marine mammal stocks are thriving, while others are declining, and we often don’t know all the reasons behind a species or stock’s population trend. Because of this variability, it is difficult to indicate the state of an ecosystem or specific region using stock assessment data for marine mammal species that often range across multiple ecosystems and regions.

 

Description of Marine Mammal Strategic and Depleted Stocks (MMPA):

A stock is defined by the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as a group of marine mammals of the same species or smaller taxa in a common spatial arrangement, that interbreed when mature. See a list of the marine mammal stocks NOAA protects under the MMPA.

 

A strategic stock is defined by the MMPA as a marine mammal stock—

- For which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds the potential biological removal level or PBR (defined by the MMPA as the maximum number of animals, not including natural mortalities, that may be removed from a marine mammal stock while allowing that stock to reach or maintain its optimum sustainable population); 

- Which, based on the best available scientific information, is declining and is likely to be listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) within the foreseeable future; or 

- Which is listed as a threatened or endangered species under the ESA, or is designated as depleted under the MMPA. 

 

A depleted stock is defined by the MMPA as any case in which—

- The Secretary of Commerce, after consultation with the Marine Mammal Commission and the Committee of Scientific Advisors on Marine Mammals established under MMPA title II, determines that a species or population stock is below its optimum sustainable population; 

- A State, to which authority for the conservation and management of a species or population stock is transferred under section 109, determines that such species or stock is below its optimum sustainable population; or 

- A species or population stock is listed as an endangered species or a threatened species under the ESA. 

Marine Species Distribution - Latitude

Calicurrent Latitude

Values indicate annual cumulative change in centroid across all species in a region in degrees N

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2014 and 2018 the average species latitudinal shift showed an increasing trend.

 

Description of Gauge: The gauge value of 81 indicates that between 2014 and 2018 the average species latitudinal shift was much higher than the median average latitudinal shift between 2003 and 2018.

 

Gauge Values

  • 0 - 10: The five-year latitudinal shift is very low compared to the median value.
  • 10 - 25: The five-year latitudinal shift is much lower than the median value.
  • 25 - 50: The five-year latitudinal shift is lower than the median value.
  • 50: The five-year latitudinal shift average equals the median value.
  • 50 - 75: The five-year latitudinal shift is higher than the median value.
  • 75 - 90: The five-year latitudinal shift is much higher than the median value.
  • 90 - 100: The five-year latitudinal shift is very high compared to the median value

 

Description of Marine Species Distribution (Latitude and Depth):

The geographic location where a species is found, known as that species’ “distribution”, is a fundamental piece of information. Some species naturally move from location to location throughout the year, following seasons, food, or other factors. However, as climate change causes ocean waters to warm, populations of many species are moving towards the poles (northward in the northern hemisphere) or deeper towards cooler waters, allowing them to track their preferred temperature. Changes in a species distribution are not always due to individual animals following a preferred temperature, but could also be due to reduced survival of individuals in the warming areas. Understanding where and how fast marine species are moving is important to coastal communities as these changing distributions can affect the species available for fishing, recreation, and cultural practices. Marine species distributions are also good indicators of a warming ocean as they largely follow the species’ preferred temperature, can react quickly to ocean changes, and have been measured for many years, allowing us to see changes over time.  

 

Indicator Source Information:

This data provides important information for fisheries management including which species are caught where and at what depth. The scientists at Ocean Adapt use this data to calculate each species’ centroid as the mean latitude and depth of catch in the survey, weighted by biomass. The centroid for each species is calculated for each year after standardizing the data to ensure that the measure is consistent over time despite changes in survey techniques and total area surveyed. 

 

Data Background and Caveats:

The regional and national marine species distributions shown here represent the average shift in the centroid of species caught in surveys conducted in each region. These species represent a wide range of habitats and species types. As species distributions respond to many environmental and biological factors, combining data from multiple diverse species allows for a more complete picture of the general trends in marine species distribution. In order to more easily track and display changes in these distributions, the first year is standardized to zero. Thus, the indicator represents relative change in distribution from the first survey year.

Marine Species Distribution - Depth

CalCurrent Depth

Values Indicate annual cumulative change in average species centroid depth in meters - for example, a value of -5 indicates a decrease in average depth by 5m.

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2014 and 2018 the average species water column depth shift shows no significant trend.

 

Description of Gauge: The gauge value of 19 indicates that between 2014 and 2018 the average species water column depth shift was much higher than the median average water column depth shift between 2003 and 2018 with species moving deeper.

 

Gauge Values

  • 0 - 10: The five-year water column depth shift is very high compared to the median value with species moving deeper.
  • 10 - 25: The five-year water column depth shift is much higher than the median value with species moving deeper.
  • 25 - 50: The five-year water column depth shift is higher than the median value with species moving deeper.
  • 50: The five-year water column depth shift average equals the median value.
  • 50 - 75: The five-year water column depth shift is higher than the median value with species moving towards the surface.
  • 75 - 90: The five-year water column depth shift is much higher than the median value with species moving towards the surface.
  • 90 - 100: The five-year water column depth shift is very high compared to the median value with species moving towards the surface.

 

Description of Marine Species Distribution (Latitude and Depth):

The geographic location where a species is found, known as that species’ “distribution”, is a fundamental piece of information. Some species naturally move from location to location throughout the year, following seasons, food, or other factors. However, as climate change causes ocean waters to warm, populations of many species are moving towards the poles (northward in the northern hemisphere) or deeper towards cooler waters, allowing them to track their preferred temperature. Changes in a species distribution are not always due to individual animals following a preferred temperature, but could also be due to reduced survival of individuals in the warming areas. Understanding where and how fast marine species are moving is important to coastal communities as these changing distributions can affect the species available for fishing, recreation, and cultural practices. Marine species distributions are also good indicators of a warming ocean as they largely follow the species’ preferred temperature, can react quickly to ocean changes, and have been measured for many years, allowing us to see changes over time.  

 

Indicator Source Information:

This data provides important information for fisheries management including which species are caught where and at what depth. The scientists at Ocean Adapt use this data to calculate each species’ centroid as the mean latitude and depth of catch in the survey, weighted by biomass. The centroid for each species is calculated for each year after standardizing the data to ensure that the measure is consistent over time despite changes in survey techniques and total area surveyed. 

 

Data Background and Caveats:

The regional and national marine species distributions shown here represent the average centroid of all species caught in every year of the surveys. These species represent a wide range of habitats and species types. As species distributions respond to many environmental and biological factors, combining data from multiple diverse species allows for a more complete picture of the general trends in marine species distribution. In order to more easily track and display changes in these distributions, the first year is standardized to zero. Thus, the indicator represents relative change in distribution from the first survey year.

Coastal Population

graph of coastal population for the California Current region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to the total coastal population for a given region

 

Description of time series:

The 2014 – 2018 average coastal population in the California Current ecosystem was substantially above historic levels, although the recent trend is not different from historical trends.

 

Description of gauge:

The 2014 – 2018 average coastal population within the California Current ecosystem was greater than 94% of all population levels between 1970 to 2018, again highlighting the substantial growth in the coastal population of this region.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal population over the last 5 years of data was below any annual population level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual population level up until that point.

 

Description of Coastal Population:

While marine ecosystems are important for people all across the country, they are essential for  people living in coastal communities. The population density of coastal counties is over six times greater than inland counties. In the U.S. coastal counties make up less than 10 percent of the total land area (not including Alaska), but account for 39 percent of the total population. From 1970 to 2010, the population of these counties increased by almost 40% and are projected to increase by over 10 million people or 8+% into the 2020s. 

The population density of an area is an important factor for economic planning, emergency preparedness, understanding environmental impacts, resource demand, and many other reasons. Thus, this indicator is important to track. We present the number of residents within all regions.

 

Indicator Source Information:

The American Community Survey (ACS) helps local officials, community leaders, and businesses understand the changes taking place in their communities. It is the premier source for detailed population and housing information about our nation. The 2020 ACS Data Update will be publicly available no later than November 30, 2021.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

The values represented here are coastal county population estimates for states bordering US Large Marine Ecosystems as calculated by the US Census Bureau from the American Community Survey.

Coastal Tourism GDP

graph of coastal GDP for the California Current region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to percent change in the GDP of the Tourism Sector of Coastal Counties in US States that border a region

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county tourism GDP showed no significant trend.

Description of Gauge: The gauge value of 77 indicates that between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county tourism sector GDP was much higher than the median change in coastal county tourism sector GDP between 2006 and 2018.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal tourism GDP over the last 5 years of data was below any annual coastal tourism GDP level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual coastal tourism GDP value up until that point.

 

Description of Coastal Tourism:

U.S. coasts are host to a multitude of travel, tourism, and recreation activities. To manage our coasts, plan for development, and assess impacts as a result of coastal hazards including sea level rise, it is important to have baseline economic information. To accomplish this, we need indicators of the economic value of recreation and tourism. We present the annual total change in billions of dollars of goods and services (GDP), employment and annual wages provided from tourism industries in the Gulf of Mexico, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Hawaii-Pacific Islands, Southeast, and California Current regions. This data does not include industries located in U.S. territories. 

 

Indicator Source Information

Coastal tourism Gross Domestic Product is the total measure (in billions of 2012 dollars) of goods and services provided from various industries involved in tourism services and products along the coast. Data for Coastal Counties come from the US Census Bureau. This dataset represents US counties and independent cities which have at least one coastal border and select non-coastal counties and independent cities based on proximity to estuaries and other coastal counties. The dataset is built to support coastal and ocean planning and other activities pursuant to the Energy Policy Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Rivers and Harbors Act and the Submerged Lands Act.

 

Coastal Tourism Employment

CalCurrent Employment

Values correspond to percent change in the total Employment of the Tourism Sector of Coastal Counties in US States that border a region

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county employment showed no significant trend.

Description of Gauge: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county tourism sector employment was higher than the median change in coastal county tourism sector employment between 2006 and 2018.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal tourism employment over the last 5 years of data was below any annual coastal tourism employment level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual coastal tourism employment level up until that point.

 

Description of Coastal Tourism:

U.S. coasts are host to a multitude of travel, tourism, and recreation activities. To manage our coasts, plan for development, and assess impacts as a result of coastal hazards including sea level rise, it is important to have baseline economic information. To accomplish this, we need indicators of the economic value of recreation and tourism. We present the annual total change in billions of dollars of goods and services (GDP), employment and annual wages provided from tourism industries in the Gulf of Mexico, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Hawaii-Pacific Islands, Southeast, and California Current regions. This data does not include industries located in U.S. territories. 

 

Indicator Source Information:

Coastal tourism employment is the total measure of jobs in tourism industries along the coast.  Data for Coastal Counties come from the US Census Bureau. This dataset represents US counties and independent cities which have at least one coastal border and select non-coastal counties and independent cities based on proximity to estuaries and other coastal counties. The dataset is built to support coastal and ocean planning and other activities pursuant to the Energy Policy Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Rivers and Harbors Act and the Submerged Lands Act.

Coastal Tourism Wages

CalCurrent Wage

Values correspond to percent change in the total real wage compensation of the Tourism Sector of Coastal Counties in US States that border a region

 

Description of Time Series: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county real wage compensation showed no significant trend.

Description of Gauge: Between 2014 and 2018 the average change in coastal county tourism sector real wage compensation was much higher than the median change in coastal county tourism sector real wage compensation between 2006 and 2018.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal tourism wage compensation over the last 5 years of data was below any annual coastal tourism wage compensation level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual coastal tourism wage compensation level up until that point.

 

Description of Coastal Tourism:

U.S. coasts are host to a multitude of travel, tourism, and recreation activities. To manage our coasts, plan for development, and assess impacts as a result of coastal hazards including sea level rise, it is important to have baseline economic information. To accomplish this, we need indicators of the economic value of recreation and tourism. We present the annual total change in billions of dollars of goods and services (GDP), employment and annual wages provided from tourism industries in the Gulf of Mexico, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, Hawaii-Pacific Islands, Southeast, and California Current regions. This data does not include industries located in U.S. territories. 

 

Indicator Source Information:

Coastal tourism wage is the measure of wages (nominal) paid to employees in tourism industries along the coast. Data for Coastal Counties come from the US Census Bureau. This dataset represents US counties and independent cities which have at least one coastal border and select non-coastal counties and independent cities based on proximity to estuaries and other coastal counties. The dataset is built to support coastal and ocean planning and other activities pursuant to the Energy Policy Act, Coastal Zone Management Act, Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, National Environmental Policy Act, Rivers and Harbors Act and the Submerged Lands Act.

Coastal Employment

graph of coastal employment for the California Current region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to total employment in all industries in a given region

 

Description of time series:

Average coastal employment in the California Current ecosystem between 2014 and 2018 was substantially above historical levels, with an increasing trend over that period.  

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 90 indicates that coastal employment between 2014 and 2018 for the California Current was higher than 90% of all years between 1990 and 2018.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average coastal employment level over the last 5 years of data was below any annual employment level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual employment level up until that point.

 

Description of coastal employment:

The total coastal employment is the number of jobs in coastal communities. Businesses in coastal counties employ tens of millions of people nationally. This includes hundreds of thousands of ocean-dependent businesses that pay over $100 billion in wages annually. Many coastal and ocean amenities attracting visitors are free, generating no direct employment, wages, or gross domestic product. However, these “nonmarket” features are key drivers for many coastal businesses. We present data for all regions.

 

Data Source:

Coastal employment numbers were downloaded from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ quarterly census of employment and wages, filtered to present only coastal county values using the Census Bureau’s list of coastal counties within each state. Of note is that these data fail to include self-employed individuals. Coastal county employment numbers were then summed within each region for reporting purposes.

Commercial Fishery Landings

graph of commercial fishery landings for the California Current region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to landings in millions of metric tons

 

Description of time series:

Between 2015 and 2019, commercial landings from the California Current ecosystem were substantially below historic levels, with no apparent trend

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 4 indicates that the mean annual commercial landings between 2015 and 2019 for the California Current was higher than 4% of all years between 1950 and 2019

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average revenue or landings over the last 5 years of data was below any annual value up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average value over that same period was above any annual value up until that point.

 

Description of Commercial Fishing (Landings and Revenue):

Commercial landings are the weight of, or revenue from, fish that are caught, brought to shore, processed, and sold for profit. It does not include sport or subsistence (to feed themselves) fishermen or for-hire sector, which earns its revenue from selling recreational fishing trips to saltwater anglers. 

Commercial landings make up a major part of coastal economies. U.S. commercial fisheries are among the world’s largest and most sustainable; producing seafood, fish meal, vitamin supplements, and a host of other products for both domestic and international consumers. 

The weight (tonnage), and revenue from the sale of commercial landings provides data on the ability of marine ecosystems to continue to supply these important products. 

 

Indicator Source Information:

Landings are reported in pounds of round (live) weight for all species or groups except univalve and bivalve mollusks, such as clams, mussels, oysters and scallops, which are reported as pounds of meats (excludes shell weight). Landings data may sometimes differ from state-reported landings due to our reporting of mollusks in meat weights rather than gallons, shell weight, or bushels. Also, NMFS includes some species such as kelp and oysters that are sometimes reported by state agricultural agencies and may not be included with state fishery agency landings data.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

All landings summaries will return only non confidential landing statistics. Federal statutes prohibit public disclosure of landings (or other information) that would allow identification of the data contributors and possibly put them at a competitive disadvantage. Most summarized landings are non confidential, but whenever confidential landings occur they have been combined with other landings and usually reported as "Withheld for Confidentiality" Total landings by state include confidential data and will be accurate, but landings reported by individual species may, in some instances, be misleading due to data confidentiality.

Landings data do not indicate the physical location of harvest but the location at which the landings either first crossed the dock or were reported from.

Many fishery products are gutted or otherwise processed while at sea and are landed in a product type other than round (whole) weight. Our data partners have standard conversion factors for the majority of the commonly caught species that convert their landing weights from any product type to whole weight. It is the whole weight that is displayed in our web site landing statistics. Caution should be exercised when using these statistics. An example of a potential problem is when landings statistics are used to monitor fishery quotas. In some situations, specific conversion factors may have been designated in fishery management plans or Federal rule making that differ from those historically used by NOAA Fisheries in reporting landings statistics.

The dollar value of the landings are ex-vessel (as paid to the fisherman at time of first sale) and are reported as nominal (current at the time of reporting) values. Users can use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Producer Price Index (PPI) to convert these nominal landing values into real (deflated) values.

Landings do not include aquaculture products except for clams, mussels and oysters.

Pacific landings summarized by state include an artificial “state” designation of “At-Sea Process, Pac.” This designation was assigned to landings consisting of primarily whiting caught in the EEZ off Washington and Oregon that were processed aboard large vessels while at sea. No Pacific state lists these fish on their trip tickets which are used to report state fishery landing, hence the at-sea processor designation was used to insure that they would be listed as a U.S. landing.

Landing summaries are compiled from data bases that overlap in time and geographic coverage, and come from both within and outside of NOAA Fisheries.

Commercial fishing revenue

graph of commercial fishing revenue for the California Current region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to real revenue is 2020 US Dollars

 

Description of time series:

Commercial revenue from the California Current ecosystem between 2019 – 2013 was not different than historical patterns, and there is no trend in values.  Given that landings were at historically low levels during that same period, the average price per pound of fish is substantially higher than historical levels

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 24 indicates that the mean annual commercial revenue between 2015 and 2019 for the California Current was higher than 24% of all years between 1950 and 2019

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average revenue or landings over the last 5 years of data was below any annual value up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average value over that same period was above any annual value up until that point.

 

Description of Commercial Fishing (Landings and Revenue):

Commercial landings are the weight of, or revenue from, fish that are caught, brought to shore, processed, and sold for profit. It does not include sport or subsistence (to feed themselves) fishermen or for-hire sector, which earns its revenue from selling recreational fishing trips to saltwater anglers. 

Commercial landings make up a major part of coastal economies. U.S. commercial fisheries are among the world’s largest and most sustainable; producing seafood, fish meal, vitamin supplements, and a host of other products for both domestic and international consumers. 

The weight (tonnage), and revenue from the sale of commercial landings provides data on the ability of marine ecosystems to continue to supply these important products. 

 

Indicator Source Information:

Landings are reported in pounds of round (live) weight for all species or groups except univalve and bivalve mollusks, such as clams, mussels, oysters and scallops, which are reported as pounds of meats (excludes shell weight). Landings data may sometimes differ from state-reported landings due to our reporting of mollusks in meat weights rather than gallons, shell weight, or bushels. Also, NMFS includes some species such as kelp and oysters that are sometimes reported by state agricultural agencies and may not be included with state fishery agency landings data.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

All landings summaries will return only non confidential landing statistics. Federal statutes prohibit public disclosure of landings (or other information) that would allow identification of the data contributors and possibly put them at a competitive disadvantage. Most summarized landings are non confidential, but whenever confidential landings occur they have been combined with other landings and usually reported as "Withheld for Confidentiality" Total landings by state include confidential data and will be accurate, but landings reported by individual species may, in some instances, be misleading due to data confidentiality.

Landings data do not indicate the physical location of harvest but the location at which the landings either first crossed the dock or were reported from.

Many fishery products are gutted or otherwise processed while at sea and are landed in a product type other than round (whole) weight. Our data partners have standard conversion factors for the majority of the commonly caught species that convert their landing weights from any product type to whole weight. It is the whole weight that is displayed in our web site landing statistics. Caution should be exercised when using these statistics. An example of a potential problem is when landings statistics are used to monitor fishery quotas. In some situations, specific conversion factors may have been designated in fishery management plans or Federal rule making that differ from those historically used by NOAA Fisheries in reporting landings statistics.

The dollar value of the landings are ex-vessel (as paid to the fisherman at time of first sale) and are reported as nominal (current at the time of reporting) values. Users can use the Consumer Price Index (CPI) or the Producer Price Index (PPI) to convert these nominal landing values into real (deflated) values.

Landings do not include aquaculture products except for clams, mussels and oysters.

Pacific landings summarized by state include an artificial “state” designation of “At-Sea Process, Pac.” This designation was assigned to landings consisting of primarily whiting caught in the EEZ off Washington and Oregon that were processed aboard large vessels while at sea. No Pacific state lists these fish on their trip tickets which are used to report state fishery landing, hence the at-sea processor designation was used to insure that they would be listed as a U.S. landing.

Landing summaries are compiled from data bases that overlap in time and geographic coverage, and come from both within and outside of NOAA Fisheries. 

Recreational Fishing Effort

graph of recreational fishing effort for the California Current region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to cumulative number of angler trips

 

Description of time series:

Between 2016 and 2020, recreational fishing effort in California Current is similar to historic levels and shows no trend. 

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 22 indicates that the recreational fishing effort between 2016 and 2020 for the California Current was higher than only  22% of the recreational fishing effort values between 1982 and 2020

 

 Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average effort or harvest over the last 5 years of data was below any annual value up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average value over that same period was above any annual value up until that point.

 

Description of Recreational Fishing (Effort and Harvest):

U.S. saltwater recreational fishing is an important source of seafood, jobs, and recreation for millions of anglers and for-hire recreational businesses. Recreational fishing effort is measured as “Angler Trips”, which is the number of recreational fishing trips people go on. Recreational fishing harvest is the number of fish caught and brought to shore on recreational fishing trips. 

Recreational effort and harvest help us understand how recreational opportunities and seafood derived from our marine environment is changing over time. Fisheries managers use this data to set annual catch limits and fishing regulations, including season lengths, size, and daily catch limits. We present the total number of fish harvested and angler trips annually for all marine fish in all regions. 

 

Indicator Source Information

Recreational harvest and effort data pulled from National Summary Query. Units of data are in Effort in Angler Trips and Harvest in numbers of fish. The data from these queries is used by state, regional and federal fisheries scientists and managers to maintain healthy and sustainable fish stocks.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

To properly interpret this information, it is important to consider the following key points:

  • When comparing harvest estimates across an extended time series, note differences in sampling coverage through the years. Some estimates may not be comparable over long time series.
  • Changes may occur between preliminary and final estimates and year to year, meaning that the data may change when updated. Please review the Limitations and other sections on the Using the Data page from the source for more information.

Recreational fishing harvest

graph of recreational fishing effort for the California Current region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to harvest in millions of fish

 

Description of time series:

Between 2016 and 2020, recreational harvest from California Current are around historic levels. There is no significant trend apparent. 

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 12 indicates that the recreational fishing harvest between 2016 and 2020 for the California Current was higher than 12% of the recreational fishing harvest values between 1982 and 2020

 

 Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average effort or harvest over the last 5 years of data was below any annual value up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average value over that same period was above any annual value up until that point.

 

Description of Recreational Fishing (Effort and Harvest):

U.S. saltwater recreational fishing is an important source of seafood, jobs, and recreation for millions of anglers and for-hire recreational businesses. Recreational fishing effort is measured as “Angler Trips”, which is the number of recreational fishing trips people go on. Recreational fishing harvest is the number of fish caught and brought to shore on recreational fishing trips. 

Recreational effort and harvest help us understand how recreational opportunities and seafood derived from our marine environment is changing over time. Fisheries managers use this data to set annual catch limits and fishing regulations, including season lengths, size, and daily catch limits. We present the total number of fish harvested and angler trips annually for all marine fish in all regions. 

 

Indicator Source Information

Recreational harvest and effort data pulled from National Summary Query. Units of data are in Effort in Angler Trips and Harvest in numbers of fish. The data from these queries is used by state, regional and federal fisheries scientists and managers to maintain healthy and sustainable fish stocks.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

To properly interpret this information, it is important to consider the following key points:

  • When comparing catch estimates across an extended time series, note differences in sampling coverage through the years. Some estimates may not be comparable over long time series.
  • Changes may occur between preliminary and final estimates and year to year, meaning that the data may change when updated. Please review the Limitations and other sections on the Using the Data page from the source for more information.

 

Commercial Fishing Engagement

Graph of commercial fishing engagement index in the California Current region from 2009-2018

The x-axis on this time series represents years and the y-axis represents the percent of communities that are moderate to highly engaged in commercial fishing across California Current. Commercial fishing engagement is measured by the number permits, fish dealers, and vessel landings across California Current. 

 

Description of time series:

This time series shows the percent of communities moderately or highly engaged in commercial fishing in California Current from 2009 to 2018. Between 2013 and 2018 the percent of communities moderately or highly engaged in commercial fishing showed no significant trend.

 

Description of gauge:

The gauge value of 50 indicates that the average annual commercial fishing engagement between 2013 and 2018 for California Current communities was higher than 50% of all years in the time series.

 

Extreme Gauge values:

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average percentage of communities engaged in commercial or recreational fishing over the last 5 years of data was below any annual engagement level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any engagement level up until that point.

 

Description of Fishing Engagement:

Recreational and commercial fishing engagement is measured by the presence of fishing activity in coastal communities. The commercial engagement index is measured through permits, fish dealers, and vessel landings.  The data for recreational engagement indicators varies by state. A high rank within these indicates more engagement in fisheries. For details on both data sources and indicator development, please see https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/socioeconomics/social-indicators-fishing-communities-0.

 

NOAA Monitors recreational and commercial fishing engagement to better understand the social and economic impacts of fishing policies and regulations on our nation’s vital fishing communities. This and other social indicators help assess a coastal community’s resilience. NOAA works with state and local partners to monitor these indicators. We present data from the Northeast, Southeast, Gulf of Mexico, California Current, Alaska, and Pacific Island regions.

 

Data Source:

Commercial fishing engagement data is from the National Marine Fisheries Service’s social indicator data portal:https://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/data-and-tools/social-indicators/ The percentage of all communities in each region classified as medium, medium high, or highly engaged is presented for both recreational and commercial fishing.

 

 

Beach Closures

graph of EPA-mandated beach closures for the California Current region from 1980-2020

Beach closures are the number of days when beach water quality is determined to be unsafe.

 

Data Interpretation:

Time series: This time series shows the average number of beach closure days in the California Current region from 2000 to 2020.  During the last five years there has been a significant upward trend while values have remained within the 10th and 90th percentiles of all observed data in the time series. showed a significant upward trend.

Gauge: The gauge value of 67 indicates that between 2016 and 2020 the average number of beach closure days in the California Current region was higher than the median value of beach closure days between 2000 and 2020 which was 555.

 

Description of beach closures:

The beach closure indicator is the number of days a beach is closed, because the water and/or air quality is determined to be unsafe. Unsafe water and air quality may have significant impacts on human health, local economies, and ecosystems. 

 

Indicator and source information:

Unsafe water quality may have significant impacts on human health, local economies, and the ecosystem. Beach water quality is determined by the concentration of bacteria in the water (either Enterococcus sp. or Escherichia coli). 

 

The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) supports coastal states, counties and tribes in monitoring beach water quality, and notifying the public when beaches must be closed. The information presented is from states, counties, and tribes that submit data to the EPA Beach Program reporting database (BEACON). Data obtained from the EPA BEACON website have been provided to EPA by the coastal and Great Lakes states, tribes and territories that receive grants under the BEACH Act. Data were refined to closure, by state or territory, by year.

 

Data background and limitations:

Data compiled by states or territories are combined in regions defined as US Large Marine Ecosystems (LME). Changes in the number of beach closure days may be driven by changes in the number of beaches monitored under the BEACH Act versus by state and local municipalities and not by changes in water and/or air quality. Not all US beach closures are captured in this database, because not all beaches in a state or territory are monitored through the EPA BEACH Act. Data that were not identified to a water body or identified as inland water were not included. Data for beaches monitored by state and local municipalities are not included. 

 

Billion-Dollar Disasters

graph of billion-dollar storm events for the California Current region from 1980-2020

Values correspond to the number of events in a given year

 

Interpretation of Time Series

The number of billion dollar disasters within the California Current ecosystem is quite variable over time, fluctuating between zero and three disasters a year.  The number of disasters over the past 5 years is substantially higher than historical levels of events, although there is no recent trend in the number of events.

Interpretation of Gauge

The gauge value of 88 indicates that the number of billion dollar disasters between 2016 and 2020 for the California Current was higher than 88% of all years between 1980 and 2020.

 

Extreme Gauge values

A value of zero on the gauge means that the average number of disasters over the last 5 years of data was below any annual level up until that point, while a value of 100 would indicate the average over that same period was above any annual number of disasters up until that point. 

 

Description of billion dollar disasters:

In the United States, the number of weather and climate-related disasters exceeding 1 billion dollars has been increasing since 1980. These events have significant impacts to coastal economies and communities. The Billion Dollar Disaster indicator provides information on the frequency and the total estimated costs of major weather and climate events that occur in the United States. This indicator compiles the annual number of weather and climate-related disasters across seven event types. We Present the total annual number of disaster events for all regions.

 

Indicator Source Information:

Billion dollar disaster event frequency data are taken from NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. The number of disasters within each region were summed for every year of available data. Although the number is the count of unique disaster events within a region, the same disaster can impact multiple regions, meaning a sum across regions will overestimate the unique number of disasters.

 

Data Background and Caveats:

Events are included if they are estimated to cause more than one billion U.S. dollars in direct losses. The cost estimates of these events are adjusted for inflation using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and are based on costs documented in several Federal and private-sector databases.

Resources

California Current IEA ESR

"We evaluate the status of the California Current Ecosystem by interpreting a variety of environmental, biological, economic, and social indicators. Current and historical indicator data are organized categorically, below, with a graphic showing the most recent 5-year trend and status relative to the long-term mean; the graphical interface allows for dynamic plotting and data download options. Many of these indicators are presented to the Pacific Fishery Management Council in annual status reports."

California Current IEA Ecosystem Status Report

Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS)

The Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS) is the Regional Association of the national Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) in the Pacific Northwest, primarily Washington and Oregon. NANOOS has strong ties with the observing programs in Alaska and British Columbia through our common purpose and the occasional overlap of data and products.

The NANOOS Logo

Central and Northern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (CeNCOOS)

CeNCOOS is a US Government-accredited, regional source for high-quality data, integrated information, and diverse expertise to inform wise and sustainable use of the ocean off Central and Northern California. The CeNCOOS collaborative engages numerous investigators and technical experts, students, and institutions. Our systems and capabilities are evolving to provide real-time and forecasted information on harmful algal blooms, to advance integrated assessment tools for Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), and to include animal telemetry and other emerging technologies. Our data catalog continues to grow, facilitating access to over 1,000 observational and model data sets for the region, including a growing set of biogeochemical and biological data.

The CENCOOS Logo

Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS)

The Southern California Coastal Ocean Observing System (SCCOOS) is one of eleven regions that contributes to the national U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®). The regional observing systems work to collect, integrate, and deliver coastal and ocean observations in order to improve safety, enhance the economy, and protect the environment. The principal goal of SCCOOS is to provide observations and products to a diverse stakeholder community of managers and planners, operational decision makers, scientists, and the general public. As the regional observing system for Southern California, SCCOOS, has developed the capabilities to support short-term decision-making and long-term assessment by implementing and leveraging biological, chemical, and physical observations and models, many of which are available in near real-time.

The SCCOOS Logo

NOAA Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA): Regional Portals

The Environmental Response Management Application is a web-based Geographic Information System (GIS) tool that assists emergency responders and environmental resource managers in dealing with incidents that may adversely impact the environment.

Southwest Fisheries Science Center Open Data Portal

The mission of NOAA Fisheries is to generate the scientific information and analysis necessary for the conservation, management, and utilization of the region's living marine resources.

NOAA NMFS Logo

Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary Condition Report

Sanctuary condition reports are tools employed by NOAA to assess the condition and trends of national marine sanctuary resources. Condition reports provide a standardized summary of resources in NOAA’s sanctuaries; drivers and pressures on those resources; current conditions and trends for resources and ecosystem services; and describe existing management responses to the pressures that threaten the integrity of the marine environment.

The National Marine Sanctuary System Logo

Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary Condition Report

Sanctuary condition reports are tools employed by NOAA to assess the condition and trends of national marine sanctuary resources. Condition reports provide a standardized summary of resources in NOAA’s sanctuaries; drivers and pressures on those resources; current conditions and trends for resources and ecosystem services; and describe existing management responses to the pressures that threaten the integrity of the marine environment.

The National Marine Sanctuary System Logo

Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Condition Report

Sanctuary condition reports are tools employed by NOAA to assess the condition and trends of national marine sanctuary resources. Condition reports provide a standardized summary of resources in NOAA’s sanctuaries; drivers and pressures on those resources; current conditions and trends for resources and ecosystem services; and describe existing management responses to the pressures that threaten the integrity of the marine environment.

The National Marine Sanctuary System Logo

Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary Condition Report

Sanctuary condition reports are tools employed by NOAA to assess the condition and trends of national marine sanctuary resources. Condition reports provide a standardized summary of resources in NOAA’s sanctuaries; drivers and pressures on those resources; current conditions and trends for resources and ecosystem services; and describe existing management responses to the pressures that threaten the integrity of the marine environment.

The National Marine Sanctuary System Logo

Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary Condition Report

Sanctuary condition reports are tools employed by NOAA to assess the condition and trends of national marine sanctuary resources. Condition reports provide a standardized summary of resources in NOAA’s sanctuaries; drivers and pressures on those resources; current conditions and trends for resources and ecosystem services; and describe existing management responses to the pressures that threaten the integrity of the marine environment.

The National Marine Sanctuary System Logo

Northern California Current Marine Biodiversity Observation Network

The goal of this project is to extend the observational framework of US MBON to the Pacific Northwest - a region that presents unique hydrological, ecological, and socio-economic interactions with marine biodiversity, but also has a long history of ocean observing.

The MBON Logo

Central California Marine Biodiversity Observation Network

This project will integrate remote sensing products, in situ data and models in support of long term needs of the NOAA California Current Integrated Ecosystem Assessment (CCIEA), Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, and State of California. The goal is to quantify relationships between climate, the ocean environment (physics, chemistry) and marine food webs (from microbes to fish and top predators), with the aim of providing predictive understanding of marine ecosystem responses to environmental change.

The MBON Logo

Southern California Bight Marine Biodiversity Observation Network

This project will continue the demonstration MBON in the Santa Barbara Channel, and expand it to the entire Southern California Bight (SCB) region. The focus on SCB allows the team to cover the complete spectrum of biodiversity from ecosystems to microbes due to the profusion of existing biological monitoring and research programs by our partners including government agencies, universities and NGOs. 

The MBON Logo

Fisheries Social Indicators for Coastal Communities

NOAA Fisheries Community Social Vulnerability Indicators Toolbox is currently comprised of a suite of 14 statistically robust social, economic, and climate change indicators that uniquely characterize and evaluate a community’s vulnerability and resilience to disturbances (regulations, extreme weather, oil spills, sea level rise, etc.). The indicator map and graphing tool enables users to analyze both environmental justice as well as the climate vulnerability of over 4,600 coastal communities in 24 states. The social indicators are also routinely used for National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) and Executive Order 12898 (environmental justice) analyses.

NMFS Logo

NOAA Digital Coast

The Digital Coast was developed to meet the unique needs of the coastal management community. The website provides not only coastal data, but also the tools, training, and information needed to make these data truly useful. Content comes from many sources, all of which are vetted by NOAA.

Data sets range from economic data to satellite imagery. The site contains visualization tools, predictive tools, and tools that make data easier to find and use. Training courses are available online or can be brought to the user’s location. Information is also organized by focus area or topic.

NOAA Logo

Ocean ADAPT

OceanAdapt is a collaboration between Rutgers University, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to provide information about the impacts of changing climate and other factors on the distribution of marine life to the National Climate Assessment, fisheries communities, policymakers, and to others. This website hosts an annually updated database of scientific surveys in the United States and Canada, providing tools for exploring changes in marine fish and invertebrate distributions. 

Adapt