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

Leg 2: the hake hunt continues...

By Sandy Parker-Stetter, NWFSC
January 30, 2017

When we ended leg 1 of the Winter Survey on 1/26, we had:

  • Covered approximately 1200 nmi of planned transects
  • Fished on juvenile hake 1 time
  • Fished on adult hake 2 times
  • Completed 28 planned CTD casts and 17 underway CTD (uCTD) casts
  • Completed 14 zooplankton stations (including 8 with bongo nets)
  • Done an on-axis calibration of our echosounders while we hid from the weather
National Weather Service forecast for the start of leg 2, 10-60 nmi offshore

Obviously the (at times) poor weather affected our transect distance, but why so little fishing? Ask the hake. We were ready to fish right out of Newport, but didn’t see any acoustic hake “echosign” (i.e. characteristic patterns in shape or depth of the aggregations that we look for across frequencies) on which we could fish. We eventually found, and fished on, juvenile hake near Crescent City, CA, and saw similar juvenile echosign further south. However, juveniles were not our quest.

We had seen very weak echosign for adult hake at times as we headed south, but nothing substantial enough to fish on. The two post-weather delay trawls that caught adult hake offshore of San Francisco were the most substantial adult echosign of the trip…and this echosign was still not as strong as we had seen in 2016. Frustrating, but scientifically pretty interesting given how far north we found hake last year.

Leg 2 is ready to go and we will continue to work our way south. Our colleagues from Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC), who were out on the NOAA Ship Rueben Lasker, were kind enough to watch their bongo tows for signs of hake larvae, and their fish-egg-collector for signs of hake eggs. If the adult hake are still in the area where SWFSC found a few larvae and eggs, Leg 2 of Winter Survey could find adults quite quickly…and be very busy!

Good thing we have a new all-star team of scientists coming aboard. Daytime Wet Lab is Melanie (Lead), Dan, and McVeigh. Nighttime Wet Lab is Doug (Lead), Chelsea, and Uriel. We’ve got Abi doing a special eDNA project. Finally, in the Acoustics Lab we have Chu, Steve (Field Party Chief), and me (Chief Scientist).

Weather forecast looks good for next few days, so it’s time to go!

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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