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Dedicated Vessel Research Program Records, 1972-1980 | Special Collections & University Archives

By Micah Klausman (Intern)

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Collection Overview

Title: Dedicated Vessel Research Program Records, 1972-1980Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1976-1980

Primary Creator: Dedicated Vessel Research Program (1977-1978)

Extent: 9.01 Linear Feet


I. Background materials, 1972-1980

II. Cruise Files, 1978

     1. Cruise I, January – March 1978

     2. Cruise II, April – June 1978

     3. Cruise III, Legs 1 and 2, June – July 1978

     4. Cruise IV, September – October 1978

     5. Cruise V, November – December 1978

III. Statements and Stocks of Porpoises (SOPs), 1976 – 1980

IV. Correspondence and Reports, 1976 – 1980

V. Media, 1978

     1. Photographic Slides, 1978

     2. Video, 1978

Subjects: Purse seining--Fishing effort, Tuna fishing, Tuna industry, United States. Marine Mammal Commission, United States. National Marine Fisheries Service., United States Tuna Foundation

Forms of Material: Personal Papers, Slides, Video Recordings

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Dedicated Vessel Research Program Records, which date from 1972 to 1980, document the entire scope of the DVRP project undertaken in the late 1970s, and includes records generated by the DVRP as well as other records and publications scientists used, read, or considered over the course of the project.  The tuna/porpoise problem is heavily documented. The collection consists of agreements, summaries, reports, permits, notes, plans, "green books", logs, transcripts, letters, sighting records, raw data, statements, expendable bathythermographs ("XBTs"), correspondence, news clippings, publicity releases, photographic slides, and video. The collection is divided into five series: Background Material, Cruise Files, Statements and Stocks of Porpoises (SOPs), Correspondence and Reports, and Media.

The Background Material, dating from 1972 to 1980, documents the creation and operation of the research program, and includes records dating from well before research started to those generated after the project's completion. The series is divided into five sub-series: Agreement, Permits, Reports, Notes, and Summaries. The agreement (December 30, 1977) concerns the utilization of a dedicated vessel and gives the Marine Mammal Commission, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the United States Tuna Foundation's stipulation for the Dedicated Vessel Research Program. The Permits include gear permits and the marine mammal permit, as well as the Marine Mammal Protection act of 1972 and other laws regarding the vessel research. The Reports are the progress reports for the cruises and the overview and final report. The Notes are for the photographic slides, prints, and movies.  The Summaries are of the cruises.  Each sub- series is sorted alphabetically by file name.

The Cruise Files, dating from January to December 1978, document the procedures and events that took place on each cruise, as well as personal observations of personnel who worked on the project.  It includes records generated throughout each cruise from beginning to end. The series is divided into five sub divisions: Cruise I, II, III, IIIa, IV, and V. Most subdivisions include a cruise plan, "green books", logs, records, transcripts, "XBTs", and a cruise summary. Each sub series is filed in the order the cruises took place. Researchers should note that the third cruise was run two times, and the collection includes records from both Cruise IIIs.  Each cruise was individual in its research and records, though the sub-series resemble each other.  Each sub-series is filed chronologically by date.

The Statements and Stocks of Porpoises (SOPs) series dating from 1976 to 1980, and documents the porpoise populations and the condition of porpoises in the eastern tropical pacific region.  It includes statements regarding the Dedicated Vessel Research program and reports of the workshop on stock assessment of porpoises involved in the eastern pacific tuna fishery. The "SOPs" discuss the optimum sustainable population, various dolphins associated with stock assessments, and essential research.  The series is filed alphabetically by file name.

The Correspondence and Reports series, dating from 1976 to 1980, documents the interaction of the DVRP with various sponsoring organizations, including the Marine Mammal Commission, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and United States Tuna Foundation, as well as what information the research program released to the press, and press coverage received by the project.   It includes various reports and letters of correspondence. The series also holds reports for each DVRP cruise as well as news clippings and publicity releases. These include pictures and information the research program opened to the press, as well as articles written in the newspaper about the program. The series is filed alphabetically by file name.

The Media series, 1978, consists of photographs and video footage taken during all 5 DVRP cruises. The series is divided into two sub series: Photographic Slides and Video. The Photographic Slides include pictures of crewmen, fishing operations, boats, fishing equipment, fish, and birds.  The videos cover aspects of fishing operations, personnel, and fish. The Photographic Slides and Video sub-series are filed according to who took, or owned, the media.  The DVRP's filing and numbering system is intact.

Biographical Note

San Diego, a geographical hot-spot for tuna fishing, was known as the Tuna Capital of the World from the early 1930s to the late 1970s.  Since tuna often associate with porpoise in their native habitats, fisherman typically set nets around visible herds of porpoise to catch tuna. This type of fishing for tuna is known as purse seining, or "net fishing", and has led to the killing of many porpoises. Purse seines, first used in Southern California in 1916, are used to catch many different species of fish. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, as foreign competition out-caught American tuna fishermen, the U.S. bait-boat fleet slowly switched to purse seine gear to increase the number of tuna captured.

The Dedicated Vessel Research Program (DVRP) studied the relationships between the porpoise and tuna.  The Marine Mammal Commission (MMC), the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), and the United States Tuna Foundation (USTF) established the DVRP in 1977. The program studied the behaviors and relationship of tuna and porpoise, as well as the impact of tuna fishing on the porpoise population. The DVRP also sought to develop fishing equipment and procedures to minimize injury to and death rates of porpoises. The program did its research in the Eastern Tropical Pacific. The DVRP began research on board the M/V Queen Mary in January of 1978 and concluded in December of 1978 with its fifth and final cruise.

San Diego's tuna industry closed in the early 1980s because of over-regulation, rising costs, and  environmental pressure. By 1989 more than seventy nations participated in fishing tuna.  Ten of these nations, including Japan, the United States, Spain, and South Korea, accounted for almost 85% of the international catch.  Japan and America caught 41% of the world's tuna.

Subject/Index Terms

Purse seining--Fishing effort
Tuna fishing
Tuna industry
United States. Marine Mammal Commission
United States. National Marine Fisheries Service.
United States Tuna Foundation

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections & University Archives

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in some of these materials have been transferred to or belong to San Diego State University. The nature of historical archival and manuscript collections means that copyright status may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Copyright resides with the creators of materials contained in the collection or their heirs. Requests for permission to publish must be submitted to the Head of Special Collections, San Diego State University, Library and Information Access. When granted, permission is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical item and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder(s), which must also be obtained in order to publish.  Materials from our collections are made available for use in research, teaching, and private study. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials.

Preferred Citation: Identification of item, folder title, box number, Dedicated Vessek Research Program Record, Special Collections and University Archives, Library and Information Access, San Diego State University.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Background Materials, 1972-1980],
[Series 2: Cruise Files, 1978],
[Series 3: Statements and Stocks of Porpoises (SOPs), 1976-1980],
[Series 4: Correspondence and Reports, 1976-1980],
[Series 5: Media, 1978],

Series 1: Background Materials, 1972-1980Add to your cart.
Box 1Add to your cart.
Folder 1: Overview and Final Report, January 11, 1980Add to your cart.
Folder 2: Agreement Concerning the Utilization of a Dedicated Vessel, December 30, 1977Add to your cart.
Folder 3: Porpoise Observer Cruise SummaryAdd to your cart.
Folder 4: Gear Permit, Marine Mammal Protection Act, Federal Register, 1972-1976Add to your cart.
Folder 5: Marine Mammal Permit, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 6: Progress Reports, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 7: Cruise Summaries, 1978Add to your cart.
Folder 8: Notes on Slides, Prints, and MoviesAdd to your cart.

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Background Materials, 1972-1980],
[Series 2: Cruise Files, 1978],
[Series 3: Statements and Stocks of Porpoises (SOPs), 1976-1980],
[Series 4: Correspondence and Reports, 1976-1980],
[Series 5: Media, 1978],

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