Sightings from the 67th ACCESS Cruise!

June 22, 2023 Written by Alayne Chappell

Greater Farallones Association researchers joined ACCESS partners, Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuaries, Point Blue Conservation Science, NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center, UC Santa Cruz, and San Francisco State University, for the 67th ACCESS research cruise! This year’s cruise surveyed the waters of Greater Farallones and Cordell Bank sanctuaries, sampling for zooplankton, seabirds, whales, turtles, surface marine debris, and vessel activities, which it has been doing since 2004. Documented sightings included large numbers of young of the year (YOY) rockfish and anchovies along the continental shelf, around 30 miles off the coast. Where there were anchovies, there were whales and birds!

The researchers documented humpback, blue, and fin whales (with blue whales showing up in higher-than-average numbers); Risso’s dolphins; Dall’s porpoises; flocks of Shearwaters; a Nazca Booby; various other species of seabirds; and more! The team collected water samples to measure ocean acidification and identify environmental DNA (known as eDNA) and reported that all things considered, ocean conditions looked favorable for productivity.

ACCESS data are used to assess whales at-risk from entanglement and ship strikes, seabird foraging areas and hotspots, ocean acidification, the effectiveness of management zones and regulations, and ecosystem health. Follow along with more 2023 ACCESS research cruises at and