Northwest Fisheries Science Center

The Main Deck

Acoustic and trawl adventures in the Northeast Pacific

This portal tracks the research and sea-going activities of the Fisheries Engineering and Acoustic Technologies (FEAT) Team from NOAA¿s Northwest Fisheries Science Center.  Follow us as we use acoustics, trawling, and oceanographic sampling to learn about the Northeast Pacific Ocean.

Back deck of Bell M. Shimada
Acoustic echogram of hake
trawl catch

Sharing our (cool) work

By Sandy Parker-Stetter, NWFSC
January 30, 2017

While in San Francisco for our inport, we have been docked at the Exploratorium. The description of the Exploratorium ( as a “public learning laboratory” is perfect. It is laboratory, workshop, museum, curiosity shop, and science playground all wrapped into one.

The Exploratorium from above. Notice all of the solar panels and the weather stations. Credit Sandy Parker-Stetter, NWFSC

The Explainers ( play a big role in the Exploratorium experience, and during the inport it was my pleasure to spend time with both the Field Trip Explainers and the High School Explainers. While the Explainers deal with cool science stuff every day, this was my chance to show them the cool stuff we are doing at sea, why we’re doing it, and the amazing science platform that is the Bell M. Shimada.

We started at the Bridge (with a great introduction by ENS Manougian) and worked our way around the science spaces, talking through a typical operation: using the acoustics to watch for hake echosign, breaking transect for a trawl, preparations on the back deck, how the trawl works, how the catch is processed and what is collected, and how the oceanographic operations are performed (and why we care about those data).

At the end of the tour, we also had a bit of time to talk about life at sea, including how we handle 24-hour operations from food and sleep perspectives. We visited the Mess Deck, everyone crowded into a stateroom, and we stopped by the lounge so the High School Explainers could check out the comfy chairs. These tours reminded me how awesome, and sometimes weird, it is to be at sea.

My thanks to the Exploratorium and the Explainers for the opportunity to engage with them – I had a blast. For the Field Trip Explainers – the “many successful hake trawls” good luck chocolate has been added to the table in the Acoustics Lab (i.e. the science, and chocolate, epicenter of the ship).

fog bridge
The "Fog Bridge" at the Exploratorium - a favorite spot for Sandy (and for many other kids). Credit Sandy Parker-Stetter, NWFSC

Tagged: Hake, Acoustics, Winter hake research, FEAT, FRAM, Oceanography, Ecosystem, California Current Large Marine Ecosystem, CCLME, El Niño, La Niña, Climate

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