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

Adapting the design

By Victor Simon, Sandy Parker-Stetter
January 16, 2016

The modified survey design, showing the Simon Extension (Photo credit Sandy Parker-Stetter)

If you’ve been watching our location using the link on the left (“Track the NOAA Ship Bell Shimada”), you may have seen us deviating from the original survey design. We knew from the start that our design would be “adaptive,” meaning that we’d make changes on the fly if we had biological or weather-related reason to do so. From the attached figure you can see that we shortened a long offshore diagonal due to weather but, more interestingly, added a series of zig-zag transects over the Mendocino. Victor Simon from the Northwest Fisheries Science Center made the suggestion to spend more time surveying the Mendocino Ridge area (note: we named the new section of transect the “Simon Extension”), so I’ll let him explain the rationale – take it away, Victor!  (Sandy)


Why the Mendocino Ridge?

When I saw the survey design for the winter hake survey, I immediately thought that the Mendocino Ridge/Gorda Escarpment would be an interesting area to survey if time permitted. The Mendocino Ridge is formed by three merging tectonic plates (Gorda, Pacific, and North American Plates) which form a south facing ridge that is 1000’s of meters high. This incredible topography, coupled with winter currents that run south to north, creates a region with high nutrient concentrations, which can in turn result in a great deal of food for newly hatched fish like Pacific hake. My 17 years’ experience with the West Coast Groundfish Survey has fueled my fascination with this geological area and the role it plays in the California Current Ecosystem. I asked myself, “What would I do if I was a hake?” and, knowing how unique and food-rich the Mendocino Ridge area can be, I realized this is definitely a place where the winter survey would be likely to find “us”.

Victor Simon

The Mendocino Ridge is formed by the junction of three tectonic plates and is an area of high ecological value (source: NOAA Ocean Explorer)

Tagged: Winter hake survey

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