Fishery Bulletin (1988)


The density and total population size of harbor porpoise along the coasts of California, Oregon, and Washington are estimated from ship surveys using line transect methods. Surveys were completed between September 1984 and May 1986 using teams of 3-5 observers. Data include 852 porpoise groups sighted during 6,590 km of transects. Sighting rates varied more due to effects of sea state than due to the presence of rain, fog, or sun glare. Experiments using additional observers indicate that approximately 22% of trackline groups were missed by a team of 5 observers. Harbor porpoise density is calculated from transects along the 18 m isobath and is extrapolated to other depth zones based on a model of porpoise abundance as a function of depth. Total population size is estimated as 45,713 (SE= 7,865) animals.