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

Highlights from Leg 1

By Sandy Parker-Stetter, et al
January 23, 2016

We are at the end of leg 1 of the winter hake survey and got a lot accomplished. We found adult hake, and we found juvenile hake. We caught midshipmen. We ate a lot of ice cream, and drank a lot of coffee. We calibrated. We collected >2,300 nmi of acoustic data. We did 18 zooplankton tows. We changed the design 4 times. We are ending on a high note!

I asked each of the science party members to share a highlight (or a few) from leg 1.

Aaron – I have taken an interest in what appears to be a diet and maturity relationship in the hake we've caught so far. Most of the immature hake we've sampled have had food in their stomachs, while nearly all mature hake have had nothing, signaling a possible relationship between digestion and spawning.

Working in the wet lab (Photo credit Anthony Odell, UW)

Anthony – Finding a dinoflagellate whose known distribution is “tropical to warm temperate” off of southern Oregon in early January. El Nino? Or random mini-gyre spun amuck? Finding out what it’s like to be to be a human pinball/cosmonaut in training in a boat that is known to “roll a bit” in 20+ ft. seas. It’s all about “no hands for me, two for the boat” and “controlled falling.”

Ben – The highlight of the first leg for me, besides the thrill of doing something new, was Cliff’s cooking. That, and his help getting me on a protein shake (3 eggs, milk, ice cream) and peanut butter regimen after he found out I was trying to gain as much weight as possible from all the free food on this cruise.

Cassandra – Seeing whale blows during marine mammal watch from the flying bridge on a beautiful sunshine-y afternoon off of Trinidad Head. Hake 'enhanced samples' - the most sampled fish ever. Best boat food ever - thanks Cliff! Weird little clear, spiny, gummy bear sized critters from zooplankton sample. Measuring swim bladders on plainfin midshipman. Being the first to use the Shimada's new sorting belt setup - great design Alicia! Seal pup cavorting next to the boat during calibration attempt.

Pete extracting otoliths (bones used for ageing) from hake (Photo credit Anthony Odell, UW)

Chu – Before the survey, if people were asking me about the spawning hake distribution, I would have said I had no idea about it. Now I have learned a lot about it although the observations may not be conclusive. In addition, working with people from so many different groups is such a pleasurable experience.

Kayleigh – This has been my first time out on a NOAA “White Boat,” and I've really enjoyed seeing how the boat crew and scientists work together as one big team to complete our mission at sea. My other highlight was when we saw a pod of 3 or 4 humpback whales, who spouted and fluked before diving deep and out of our sight!

Nick – Sorting hake at 2:00 am and finishing in time for the 3:00 ice cream break. Trying to decide the correct plural for plainfin midshipman... mans... men…?

Pete – My favorite thing about this cruise has been the straightforward investigative approach to answering a really important question. Hey, where do you think adult hake go in the wintertime to have their babies? Let's go find out! Nice to participate in well-designed and executed research that will almost immediately add to our knowledge of this valuable stock.

Sandy – My favorite moment of leg 1 was seeing the first trawl on deck and realizing that we had actually caught adult hake! I came into this survey saying that we’d be successful if we caught adult hake even once (but secretly hoping it would be more than once). Seeing those adult hake on the second day of the survey was shocking, in a good way.

Steve – Adapting to a new regime of nighttime trawling and filling out “net configuration” forms on a darkened bridge with only the illumination of a red headlamp (and perhaps a realization that stronger reading glasses would be appreciated…).

Victor – I would say that the highlight for me was watching everyone work together. From the most basic part of being a floating island, to the highly evolved technological wonder that is the Shimada and her crew. The scientists working together with the crew to answer questions about our oceans, using technology's both sophisticated and blunt. The combined experience of everyone involved and how we made it all look so easy. There is a place for everyone here and everyone has a job and a place. 

On the flying bridge of the Shimada (Photo credit Anthony Odell, UW)

Tagged: Winter hake survey

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