The 2023 California Current Ecosystem Survey will be conducted aboard the NOAA R/V Reuben Lasker from July 17 to September 30, 2023. Sampling will be coordinated with two fishing vessels (F/Vs Long Beach Carnage and Lisa Marie) conducting acoustic and purse-seine sampling, three Saildrone uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs), and NOAA R/V Bell M. Shimada. The primary objectives are to survey the distributions and abundances of coastal pelagic fish species (CPS), their prey, and their biotic and abiotic environments in the California Current between San Diego, CA, through Vancouver Island, Canada.
November 3, 2023
On November 3, the 2023 Summer California Current Ecosystem Survey (CCES; 2307RL) concluded when NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada returned to Anacortes, WA. The survey began on July 5 and involved acoustic, net, egg, and/or oceanographic sampling across the continental shelf from two NOAA Ships (Reuben Lasker and Shimada), two fishing vessels (F/Vs Long Beach Carnage and Lisa Marie), and three Saildrone uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) from San Diego, CA to Cape Flattery, WA. Despite numerous challenges and setbacks, the survey was successful thanks to the tireless efforts and perseverance of countless SWFSC scientists and staff, volunteers, students, industry collaborators, NOAA Corps officers and ship staff that contributed to all aspects of this long and complicated effort. Analysis of these data are underway and will provide biomass estimates of coastal pelagic fish stocks within the surveyed area that will contribute to the assessment and management of these critically important forage fish species.
October 13, 2023
From October 7-10, Bryan Overcash, Drikus Kuyper, Josiah Renfree, Kelsey James, Nico Concha-Saiz, and Zach Skelton traveled to Newport, OR, to mobilize the NOAA R/V Bell M. Shimada for the final leg of the California Current Ecosystem Survey. These additional sea days have been granted to mitigate losses incurred aboard NOAA R/V Reuben Lasker earlier this summer.
After postponing departure for a few days due to foul weather, the Shimada finally sailed from Newport on October 12 with Alice Beittel, Bill Lind (WCR), Drikus Kuyper, Nico Concha-Saiz, Olivia Boisen (volunteer), Steve Sessions, and Zach Skelton to begin Leg 4.1. Acoustic transects and nightly trawls will begin directly off the coast. There is a small weather window in which they hope to conduct as many transects and trawls as possible before having to head back to port.
Leg 4.2 is scheduled for October 25 - November 3.
September 8, 2023
On September 5, NOAA R/V Reuben Lasker departed 10th Ave. Marine Terminal in San Diego to resume the 2023 Summer California Current Ecosystem Survey (CCES). On September 6, Advanced Survey Technologies staff recovered and redeployed a benthic acoustic lander package that was deployed off Pt. Conception last summer. On September 7, SWFSC scientists resumed acoustic-trawl method (ATM) sampling near Morro Bay, and will progress northward for the rest of Leg 3. A mid-leg personnel transfer to swap science staff is scheduled for September 18 (location TBD), and the Lasker portion of the survey will end in Newport, OR, no later than September 30. FRD is making plans to conduct up to 29 additional days at sea (October 6-November 3) aboard NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada to mitigate losses incurred during the scheduled project period aboard Lasker.
September 1, 2023
The 2023 Summer California Current Ecosystem Survey (CCES) is scheduled to resume aboard NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker out of San Diego on September 5, 2023. The SWFSC team will survey as much of the remaining survey area as possible with the remaining 25 days at sea. To date, only 25% of the planned sea days have been executed due to staffing issues in OMAO. To mitigate these losses, the Center has also requested an additional 28 sea days aboard NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada in October to increase data collection and improve survey products.
August 24, 2023
The 2023 Summer California Current Ecosystem Survey (CCES) continues to be impacted by staffing shortages aboard NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker. On August 14, Lasker transited from San Francisco to San Diego, where she will remain until critical positions are filled. To date, nearly 70% of the sea days aboard Lasker have been lost. OMAO expects to be fully staffed for Leg 3, which is scheduled from September 5-30. AST staff will be analyzing acoustic data collected by the NWFSC during the hake survey aboard NOAA Ship Shimada and using the results to optimize sampling by Lasker for the remainder of the survey.
Meanwhile, F/V Long Beach Carnage completed the nearshore acoustic and purse-seine sampling between San Diego and Bodega Bay, and around Santa Cruz and Santa Catalina Islands on August 14. F/V Lisa Marie is currently conducting nearshore acoustic and purse-seine sampling between Bodega Bay and Cape Flattery and is currently working off central OR. Three Saildrone uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) are conducting acoustic sampling between San Francisco and Cape Flattery, having already completed acoustic sampling between Pt. Conception and San Francisco.
August 18, 2023
The Summer 2023 California Current Ecosystem Survey (CCES) has been on pause since July 30, 2023, due to insufficient staffing. Nearly ⅔ of the sea days for the project have been lost to date. On August 14, NOAA Ship Reuben Lasker departed from San Francisco and arrived at 10th Ave Marine Terminal on August 16, where she’ll remain until enough crew is acquired to resume the project. Looking ahead, if enough crew is acquired then Leg 2.2 is scheduled to depart on August 19, and Leg 3.1 is scheduled to depart on September 5. Meanwhile, three Saildrone uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) are conducting acoustic sampling between San Francisco and Arcata, CA; F/V Long Beach Carnage is finishing the nearshore acoustic and purse-seine sampling between San Diego and Bodega Bay, CA; and F/V Lisa Marie is conducting nearshore acoustic and purse-seine sampling north of Bodega Bay.
August 4, 2023
On Sunday, July 30, NOAA Ship Lasker arrived in San Francisco to complete Leg 1 of the 2023 Summer California Current Ecosystem Survey (CCES). Between July 17 and 29, acoustic and trawl sampling for coastal pelagic fish species (CPS) was conducted by Lasker between San Diego and Morro Bay, CA. Two Saildrone uncrewed surface vehicles (USVs) have conducted acoustic sampling between Pt. Conception and San Francisco; F/V Long Beach Carnage has conducted nearshore acoustic and purse-seine sampling between San Diego and Morro Bay, and around Santa Cruz and Santa Catalina Islands; and F/V Lisa Marie has conducted purse-seine sampling in areas where NOAA Ship Shimada conducted hake trawling between Pt. Conception and Santa Cruz, CA. Leg 2 was scheduled to resume along the Central CA coast on August 4, but is currently delayed until at least August 7 due to staffing shortages aboard Lasker.
July 28, 2023
After a two-week delay due to a hull leak and insufficient crew, the 2023 Summer California Current Ecosystem Survey (CCES, 2307RL) departed San Diego aboard the NOAA R/V Reuben Lasker on July 17 and sampled from the U.S.-Mexico border to the Northern Channel Islands. Thus far, the sampling effort has included: 9 acoustic transects; 17 nighttime trawls; and 176 CUFES samples. Meanwhile, F/V Long Beach Carnage has sampled the nearshore regions in the Southern California Bight (SCB) and around Santa Catalina and Santa Cruz Islands; and F/V Lisa Marie has conducted nighttime purse-seine samples where NOAA R/V Bell M. Shimada conducted daytime midwater trawls for hake, between Point Conception and Santa Cruz. Furthermore, Two Saildrone USVs have begun conducting acoustic transects north of Point Conception.
Reuben Lasker's sampling of the SCB showed no northern stock sardine habitat. The acoustic backscatter was concentrated around San Nicolas and Catalina Islands. In CUFES, Pacific sardine eggs were found around the southern Channel Islands; northern anchovy eggs close to shore between San Diego and L.A. Catches of northern anchovy and Pacific sardine are similar to the distribution of eggs, plus jack mackerel and anchovy offshore.
Trawl specimens were dominated by northern anchovy. Two modes in the Pacific sardine length distributions, and three in the jack mackerel. The weights of the larger sardine are consistently below the mass-length curve for the northern stock. At least three trawls in the SCB included 7-11 cm, juvenile hake
Lasker will transit to San Francisco on July 29. After a 5-day port call, the vessel will depart San Francisco on August 4 and resume sampling off Morro Bay, Line 053, on August 5. F/V Lisa Marie will likely remain in Santa Cruz for another day or so due to weather, then transit toward Point Conception to meet Lasker for the end of Leg 1, then call port near Morro Bay until Lasker returns.
July 20, 2023
On July 17, following a 14-day delay due to staffing and mechanical issues with the ship, SWFSC scientists departed 10th Avenue Marine Terminal in San Diego aboard NOAA R/V Reuben Lasker to begin the 2023 Summer Acoustic-Trawl Method (ATM) Survey in the California Current Ecosystem (CCE). The ATM survey aims to estimate the distributions, abundances, and demographics of coastal pelagic fish species (CPS) along the U.S. west coast between Mexico and Canada (Fig. 1). The survey was initiated off San Diego and will progress northward, aiming to reach the north end of Vancouver Island, Canada, save for any additional delays.
Brittany Schwartzkopf (LHP), Kelsey James (LHP), Solomon Mitchell (INFISH intern), Drikus Kuyper (CalCOFI), Lanora Vasquez (ShipOps), and Scott Mau (AST) are part of the science team on Leg 1 of the ATM survey. Also on the science team are Selene Morales (INAPESCA), Blane Bellerud (NOAA WCR), and Dan Palance (UCSC). Brittany will be switching out at the end of the week with Nico Concha-Saiz (ShipOPS).