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

End of 2016 Winter Hake Survey

By Sandy Parker-Stetter
February 9, 2016

Leg 2 scientists on the bow of the Bell M. Shimada.  Photo credit NWFSC-FRAM-FEAT

It’s hard to believe, but the 2016 Winter Hake Survey is coming to an end. 

Wet lab crew with a King-of-the-salmon (Trachipterus altivelis).  Photo credit Sandy Parker-Stetter (NWFSC)

We’ve finished 30 days at sea aboard the NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada.  We collected 5,300 nautical miles of acoustic data between 31.4pN and 45.6pN, completed 32 midwater trawls, did 75 CTD casts, performed 25 zooplankton vertical net casts, did over 2,000 minutes of observations for marine birds and mammals, collected >100 deep-water fish specimens for the University of Washington’s Fish Collection, collected >3,000 samples for HABs all along the coast, and adapted the survey 10 times – and still found time to play cornhole, enjoy some sun on the flying bridge, and watch the Super Bowl!  Phew. 

Numbers aside, the survey would not have met (and exceeded) our objectives had it not been for the skilled crew of the Shimada and the top-notch science parties from legs 1 and 2.  The Shimada crew was right there with us, asking questions about the design and wanting to know whether the hake we caught were spawning or not.  On the science side, I am grateful to have sailed with such a talented, motivated, and invested group of scientists.  We really do have the coolest jobs.  You each provided a perspective, and enriched mine, on what hake do in the winter when they think no one is looking (but we were looking, weren’t we?).  Each of you was critical to the success of the survey.  Thank you, everyone.

The Shimada cornhole tournament.  Photo credit Allen Shimada (NOAA-OST)

I also wanted to express my gratitude to the on-land support teams that allowed us to be offshore doing our science-thing.  You kept the fires burning, shielded us from daily life when you could, fixed our problems from shore, asked questions that kept us on our toes, and made sure that blog posts always made it up.  You were essential personnel in this effort.  Many thanks.

So what’s next?  Although the at-sea part of the survey is done, the bulk of our work is still ahead of us back in the office.  The NWFSC-FRAM Fisheries Engineering and Acoustic Technologies (FEAT) team will quality check the data (acoustic, trawl, biological, and oceanographic) and get it ready for use.  The checking and processing parts can be long and tedious, but are essential.  Once all the checks have been completed, we’ll plot, map, and summarize the data to do a further check of quality and take a look at it from various perspectives – for a first time survey that collected so much information, everyone is excited for this step!  We came into the survey with hypotheses about where we’d find hake, and whether those areas were predictable.  Once the data are checked and processed, we can do the analyses to test our ideas and compare our data with other data sets.  Inevitably, we’ll come up with even more questions and brainstorm ways to answer those questions in the future. 

After a great trip, it’s time to head for the pier!

Sunny day on the flying bridge.  Photo credit Sandy Parker-Stetter (NWFSC)

Tagged: Winter hake survey

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