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

So many screens, so much information

By Sandy Parker-Stetter, NWFSC
February 11, 2017

The acoustics lab on the Bell M. Shimada is full of computers and screens. The photo shows the aft (i.e. rear) portion of the lab with 25 screens! Not all screens were being used at the time of the photo, but all are operational and have a purpose. What kind of information are we monitoring or working with that we need this many screens?

Acoustic lab, looking aft. Credit Parker-Stetter, NWFSC
  • Acoustic data. These data help us decide when to fish. These monitors are watched 24 hours a day
  • Current flow data
  • Trigger control (timing and sequence) of the various instruments
  • Wind speed/direction. These data help us gauge if it’s too rough to fish or do side ops
  • Sea surface temperature and salinity. These data can alert us to changing water conditions
  • Ship’s location and marking spots where operations occurred to help us detect patterns
  • Trawl camera (i.e. the camera inside the net) data are downloaded and processed. These data tell us whether the hake we caught came into the net at the depth we expected them to
  • Path of our trawl in the water is plotted onto the acoustic data to see if we hit our desired target
  • Back deck operations are observed via a video camera
  • Acoustic and oceanographic data are processed as they come aboard 
  • Theoretical acoustic energy returns from organisms *we think* are showing up on the acoustic monitors are modelled
  • Data that were collected from the fish in the trawls are checked and plotted
  • Data from previous surveys are processed for comparison with our current data
  • Fish and invertebrate identifications are checked with colleagues or online
  • Emailing to keep up with on-land work and family/friends

As you can imagine, this many screens (and the computers that are attached to them) generate a lot of heat. The acoustics lab can be “68°F and breezy” with all the vents blowing.

We continue to watch the monitors (all of them!) as we head north toward Newport, hoping to find more hake.

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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