Overview of the Collection
Arrangement of Materials:
Scope and Contents
Overview of the Collection
Collection Title: Dedicated Vessel Research Program Records
Bulk Dates: 1976-1980
Dedicated Vessel Research Program
Physical Description: 9.01 linear ft
Language of Materials:
Special Collections & University Archives
5500 Campanile Dr. MC 8050
San Diego, CA, 92182-8050
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
This collection is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
United States Tuna Foundation
United States. Marine Mammal Commission.
United States. National Marine Fisheries Service.
Genre/Form of Material:
Purse seining--Fishing effort
Conditions Governing Use:
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.
Conditions Governing Access:
This collection is open for research.
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.
Arrangement of Materials:
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
Scope and Contents
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:
Statements and Stocks of Porpoises (SOPs),
Correspondence and Reports, and
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.