The Summer 2016 California Current Ecosystem Survey will assess the biomasses, distributions, and biological compositions of sardine, anchovy, and other Coastal Pelagic Species populations in U.S. and Canadian waters off the Pacific coast.
September 23, 2016
The ship’s dynamic positioning system was calibrated and tuned, and operators were trained. Surveys of fish and bathymetry were conducted at Del Mar and Forty-Three Fathom Bank sites. Equipment was calibrated and evaluated for noise, non-linear effects, cross-talk, and resolving fish close to the seabed. The remotely operated vehicle was tested with new stereo cameras and multibeam sonar, for monitoring the diel vertical migrations of the deep scattering layer and rockfish. The sites of lost instrument packages (fish tracking and HARP arrays) were located acoustically, and recoveries were attempted with the remotely operated vehicle. Remotely operated vehicle transect-length measurements were calibrated relative to a known-length pipeline (Point Loma outfall).
Prior to the beginning of leg 5, Southwest Fisheries Science Center scientists and researchers from Scripps Institution of Oceanography collaboratively conducted a variety of experiments with the state- of-the-art acoustic instrumentation aboard FSV Reuben Lasker. The principal aim was to cooperatively conduct research to expedite surveys and advance fisheries science using echosounders and, optical instrumentation (stereo and HD-video cameras), and a remotely operated vehicle. Additionally, observations were made of mesopelagic and demersal fish and their habitats, and instrumented landers were recovered and deployed. The results of this collaborative work was then followed by at-sea work from September 19-23.
September 16, 2016
Saturday, September 17, NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker will arrive in San Diego after spending nearly three months surveying the coastal pelagic species community of the California Current, from northern Vancouver Island to San Diego. With just one day of sampling left, the survey collected acoustic and oceanographic data along more than 4500 nautical miles of east-west transects. The continuous underway fish egg sampler pumped and filtered in excess of 6.8 million gallons of water, generating 1377 thirty-minute long samples. All together 119 trawls caught 11 tons of target coastal pelagic species. Thousands of fish were measured and weighed. Twenty-five hundred otoliths and 700 ovaries were collected for assessing fish age and maturity, respectively. The data collected on this survey will be used for the assessment of multiple fish species, including Pacific sardine and Northern anchovy.
NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker will depart again on Monday, September 19, for five days of Technology Development Field Trials.
September 9, 2016
The NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker departed from San Diego on Tuesday, September 6, for the 4th leg of the 2016 California Current Ecosystem Survey. The ship began sampling off Santa Barbara and is scheduled to survey the Southern California Bight until September 17. Progress has been good, and the fair weather allowed the sampling of the shallow regions of the Northern Channel Islands. Acoustic backscatter has been dominated by rockfish. Epipelagic echoes have been infrequent. The Continuous Underway Fish Egg Sampler egg pump samples have been mostly comprised of coastal flat fish eggs and a fair amount of sardine eggs. So far, night-time trawls caught anchovy, pacific and jack mackerel, and market squid.
September 01, 2016
During week two of the summer California Current Ecosystem/coastal pelagic species survey, NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker completed transects 89 through 101. In all, Leg 3 surveying covered transects 71 through 101, from latitude 39.1° to 34.0° north. All compulsory and two additional transects were surveyed in the portion covered this week. Underway CTDs (conductivity, temperature, depth) were collected during daytime with only a few cancelled because of seas. Nighttime operations included one ‘side op’ station per night to deploy CTD, pairovet and bongo nets, followed by one to three surface trawls. While three trawls were always the goal, transit distances to acoustic targets and weather sometimes limited the fishing effort to one or two trawls.
Winds were high this week and sea states slowed the progress during the last three days. Thus, trawls could not be deployed or had to be aborted in some desired areas because of poor conditions. For the previous two nights, we were forced to fish south-southeast of Point Conception near the northern Channel Islands. Notable trawl catches this week include last night’s collection of young-of-year anchovies; anchovies and market squid from the Santa Barbara Channel area; saury from offshore. Additionally, relatively large numbers of anchovies were caught in the vicinity of transects 91 and 92 where signs of fish were frequent in the acoustic data.
Leg 3 surveying operations ceased today, and the vessel is heading back to San Diego. Despite some necessary in-port work, the ship is expected to be ready to sail on Monday, September 5, for Leg 4.
August 26, 2016
On August 19, NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker departed San Francisco and began leg 3 of the 2016 California Current Ecosystem Survey. From August 19-26, the crew acoustically surveyed transects 71-87, and deployed numerous CTD (conductivity, temperature, and depth), underway CTDs (UCTD), and nets throughout.
In the beginning of the leg, the main catches included various coastal pelagic species: sardine, Pacific mackerel, jack mackerel, squid, and anchovy. Later, in transects 81-87, the catch became more prominent with red crabs, pyrosomes, salps, and only small amounts of squid and jack mackerel; one Mola mola was also caught alive and released. Surveying of transect 85 was stalled temporarily because of whale watching vessels in the direct path. There were many humpbacks and fin or blue whales spouting, with some humpbacks breaching in the vicinity. A couple of mammal whistles were heard and recorded by the passive acoustic system.
Keel-camera note: The “keel camera” mounted on the bottom of the centerboard, is now producing some decent, nearly unblurred images for animals within the focused field at a fairly short range with daytime, ambient light. We have captured images of krill, salps, and a heteropod at full, 10-kt survey speed.