Boy Scout Troops of Guam get a personal tour of the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette by scientists and crew.

Submitted by: Eric Mooney

Boy Scouts troops 15, 20, & 23 all represented pier side in front of the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette.

Boy Scouts troops 15, 20, & 23 all represented pier side in front of the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette.

On July 23, 2014 during the Guam in-port, the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette invited three Boy Scout troops to tour the ship and learn about the current fisheries science research that is happening around Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands.  The Boy Scouts toured several places on the ship including, the bridge and navigation plotting chart area, standard berthing quarters, galley, and deck department areas which utilize the winches and cranes.  Scientific research areas such as, the electronics lab, water chemistry lab, and wet lab were also toured by the visiting scouts.

Executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Haner, discusses “back deck” operations aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette.

Executive officer, Lieutenant Commander Haner, discusses “back deck” operations aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette.

PIFSC Science Operations scientist, Eric Cruz, talked about current research and the research projects the ship was about to embark upon around Guam and off-shore banks.  Recently caught fish were put on display in the wet lab for the scouts to look at as well as, otoliths and pictures of other fish that are typically caught around Guam.  Age, growth, and maturity of fish, is a primary focus of research for Cruise SE-14-05.

Eric Cruz pries open fish jaws so the scouts can see the large sharp teeth of this predatory fish.

Eric Cruz pries open fish jaws so the scouts can see the large sharp teeth of this predatory fish.

Eric Cruz explains to the scouts about the value of understanding the life history of fish in order to properly manage fish stocks.

Eric Cruz explains to the scouts about the value of understanding the life history of fish in order to properly manage fish stocks.

Posted in Scientific Operations | Tagged , , , ,

Exploring Reef Fish Abundance, Mobile Predator Presence, and Unexplored Mesophotic Habitats around Guam using Baited Remote Underwater Video Stations (BRUVs)

Submitted by Louise Giuseffi, Joe O’Malley and Jake Asher

NOAA Scientists Jake Asher, Jamie Barlow, and Louise Giuseffi conducted 160 baited remote underwater video stations (BRUVs) deployments from the NOAA research vessel Oscar Elton Sette during the Guam Insular Fish Research Project (SE-14-05).  These stereo-camera deployments extended from shallow reefs (0-30m) to deep mesophotic regions (30-100m) surrounding Guam’s perimeter.  The primary objectives were to 1) increase the depth range of reef fish surveys previously limited to diver depths, and provide preliminary assessments of mesophotic reef fish populations and benthic habitats 2) provide information on the habitat range of mobile, roving predators (primarily sharks and jacks).  BRUVs work by using sets of pre-calibrated off the shelf handycams (Sony CX7s or CX12s) in a stereo-video configuration on one frame, which allows researchers to estimate overall assemblage and species-specific populations, obtain accurate size measurements of target reef fish species and biomass, and better understand the dynamic of the benthic habitat and their associated assemblages.

NOAA Scientists, from left to right, Jamie Barlow, Louise Giuseffi and Jake Asher pose with a stereo-BRUVs

NOAA Scientists, from left to right, Jamie Barlow, Louise Giuseffi and Jake Asher pose with a stereo-BRUVs

Image of a stereo-BRUVs recovery.

Image of a stereo-BRUVs recovery.

To our knowledge, there has never been extensive reef fish or benthic research conducted in mesophotic regions around Guam and we are excited to review the stereo-video footage in the subsequent months to discover what lives at these great depths.  In brief nightly reviews of the footage, we found areas with flourishing mesophotic reef systems, including areas abundant in soft coral species rich in fish biomass, and additional areas hosting extensive algal fields.  We were surprised at the light transmission and water clarity in several of the deeper (100m) drops.  Finally, one could visibly discern the thermocline (cold water mixing with warm water) in a few of the video surveys, which looked like little underwater distortion waves.

Fish feeding assemblage on the bait bag on a slope.

Fish feeding assemblage on the bait bag on a slope.

Deep mesophotic feeding assemblage.

Deep mesophotic feeding assemblage.

Some of the videos documented sharks that were attracted to the BRUVs.  Most were curious and spent a few moments swimming back and forth around the bait.  Many other species of fish fed on the contents of the bait bag, including species that are not considered classic piscivores (fish eaters).  In one BRUVs deployment, an octopus completely enveloped the bait bag and fed on its contents through the wire mesh.

A tiger shark approaches the bait bag from a distance.

A tiger shark approaches the bait bag from a distance.

A silver tip reef shark gets up close and personal with the bait bag.

A silver tip reef shark gets up close and personal with the bait bag.

Despite periods of torrential rain and strong sun/high humidity, favorable weather during the cruise allowed for deployments in areas (e.g. windward coast) that are typically too rough for small boat operations.  The BRUVs team also worked in extremely powerful currents while around Guam, which rank among the most powerful they have ever experienced.  These created a challenging work environment; however, the future results from these videos may prove to be the biggest reward!

Posted in Fisheries Research and Monitoring Division (FRMD), Scientific Operations | Tagged , , , , , , ,

Scientists map seafloor around Mo‘orea in French Polynesia

By Kevin O’Brien

Last month, scientists from the PIFSC Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED), along with scientists from the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UH), began work on a collaborative project funded by the National Science Foundation to provide bathymetry (or depth) data for the waters surrounding the island of Mo‘orea in French Polynesia. The Moorea Coral Reef Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) Project is one of many LTER sites, both marine and terrestrial, that are operated around the world to provide insight into ecological processes through long-term monitoring.

The R/V AHI and R/V Kilo Moana perform operations in Cook’s Bay, Mo‘orea, on July 27. NOAA photo

The R/V AHI and R/V Kilo Moana perform operations in Cook’s Bay on July 27 at Mo‘orea, an island about 17 km northwest of Tahiti in French Polynesia. NOAA photo

The Moorea Coral Reef LTER site was established in 2004, and the website for this project describes the research effort there as “an interdisciplinary, landscape-scale program whose goal is to advance understanding of key mechanisms that modulate ecosystem processes and community structure of coral reefs through integrated research, education and outreach.” Fulfilling that goal requires a better understanding of the movement of water around this island’s forereef as well as into, through, and out of its lagoons. Modeling wave dynamics and currents requires high-resolution bathymetry data collected from around the entire island. This need is where CRED’s mobile multibeam mapping assets came into the picture.

CRED’s multibeam survey launch, the R/V AHI (Acoustic Habitat Investigator), is a 25-ft aluminum SAFE Boat with an enclosed cabin and an inboard diesel engine. The AHI was custom built for the purpose of mapping benthic habitats in shallow waters, and it is equipped with a 240-kHz Reson 8101ER multibeam transducer mounted to the bottom of its hull. This transducer is paired with a suite of onboard sonar and computer equipment, making AHI a totally self-contained platform for the collection of multibeam data with the capability of accurately mapping the benthos to a depth of up to 250 m and sometimes to deeper depths. As its name implies, the multibeam system aboard the AHI transmits acoustic energy toward the seafloor via 101 separate beams spaced 1.5° apart, and, as it surveys, depth data is collected at 101 spots on the seafloor spread out over a swath that covers about 7 times the depth of the water column.

A 3-D view of a section of multibeam swath collected on the forereef of Mo‘orea, showing bathymetry from a depth of 40 m down to almost 500 m. A steep dropoff is visible, starting at a depth around 70 m. Image credit: Joyce Miller, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

A 3-D view of a section of multibeam swath collected on the forereef of Mo‘orea, showing bathymetry from a depth of 40 m down to almost 500 m. A steep dropoff is visible, starting at a depth around 70 m. Image credit: Joyce Miller, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

A close-up view of Opunohu Bay, as mapped by members of the field team with the multibeam system of the R/V AHI. The black areas represent unmapped areas (i.e., land or lagoon areas too shallow to navigate), and the colors indicate mapped areas, with color gradients showing depth strata. Image credit: Joyce Miller, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

A close-up view of Opunohu Bay, as mapped by members of the field team with the multibeam system of the R/V AHI. The black areas represent unmapped areas (i.e., land or lagoon areas too shallow to navigate), and the colors indicate mapped areas, with color gradients showing depth strata. Image credit: Joyce Miller, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

A zoomed-out view of multibeam bathymetry data collected around the island of Mo‘orea, French Polynesia, by researchers aboard the R/V AHI and R/V Kilo Moana, midway through this mission in support of a project funded by the National Science Foundation. Note the outline of the shape of the island in the void in the middle and the mapped reef passes, bays, and lagoon areas. Image credit: Joyce Miller, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

A zoomed-out view of multibeam bathymetry data collected around the island of Mo‘orea, French Polynesia, by researchers aboard the R/V AHI and R/V Kilo Moana, midway through this mission in support of a project funded by the National Science Foundation. Note the outline of the shape of the island in the void in the middle and the mapped reef passes, bays, and lagoon areas. Image credit: Joyce Miller, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

The goal of the CRED team this summer was to successfully map all accessible shallow-water reef environments surrounding the island of Mo‘orea at depths between 10 and 150 m or deeper if conditions allowed. This mapping effort, in conjunction with collection of multibeam data at deeper depths by the UH R/V Kilo Moana, will give LTER researchers the data they need to refine and test their wave and circulation models and apply these data to the broader array of LTER projects that take place on Mo‘orea. Open ocean waves and currents, and the zooplankton and other material that they transport, influence the reefs and lagoons around Mo‘orea, but their effects are poorly understood. The LTER scientists’ hydrodynamic modeling requires high-resolution bathymetry data to accurately account for effects of depth and seafloor roughness on waves and currents and to better link open ocean processes with the processes that occur in coastal reefs. Additionally, the availability of high-resolution bathymetry maps likely will be useful for several other research projects at Mo‘orea and Tahiti.

The R/V AHI, a PIFSC boat equipped with a multibeam mapping system, is loaded onto the R/V Kilo Moana, a vessel of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, in Honolulu on July 3 before the trip to French Polynesia. Note the cradle strapped to the AHI that enabled her to sit on the aft deck of the ship for the transit to Tahiti. NOAA photo by Kevin O’Brien

The R/V AHI, a PIFSC boat equipped with a multibeam mapping system, is loaded onto the R/V Kilo Moana, a vessel of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, in Honolulu on July 3 before the trip to French Polynesia. Note the cradle strapped to the AHI that enabled her to sit on the aft deck of the ship for the transit to Tahiti. NOAA photo by Kevin O’Brien

A view of part of the Richard B. Gump Research Station, a facility of the University of California, Berkley, as seen from the R/V AHI on July 24. NOAA photo

A view of part of the Richard B. Gump Research Station, a facility of the University of California, Berkeley, as seen from the R/V AHI on July 24. NOAA photo

To transport the AHI and all its associated expedition equipment from Hawai‘i to French Polynesia, the vessel was loaded onto the deck of the Kilo Moana on July 3 in Honolulu. The Kilo Moana, as part of a UH cruise to support LTER research in Mo‘orea, was in French Polynesian waters until Aug. 10. The field team for the PIFSC mission included 5 CRED scientists—Frances Lichowski, Jeremy Taylor, Rhonda Suka, Kevin O’Brien, and chief scientist John Rooney, Ph.D.—and Joyce Miller of UH.

Upon its arrival in Tahiti on July 17, the Kilo Moana pulled into Papeete Harbor, where it was met by the CRED team. After the ship cleared customs and immigration, the AHI was offloaded from the deck into the water with the ship’s crane, and the short (15 nmi) transit from Papeete to Mo‘orea was made in the AHI that afternoon by Rooney and O’Brien. Researchers aboard the Kilo Moana then proceeded to conduct offshore multibeam and water-sampling operations around Mo‘orea and Tahiti while the CRED team made their home base at the Richard B. Gump Research Station, a facility of the University of California, Berkeley, located on the shore of Cook’s Bay, Mo‘orea.

Between July 18 and Aug. 4, the CRED team successfully mapped approximately 95% of its targeted area on Mo‘orea: the reef passes and lagoon areas as well as both shallow and deep forereef areas, including a dramatic near-vertical wall that plunges from a depth of 70 m down to depths below 300 m most of the way around this island. In many places, the multibeam equipment on the AHI was able to accurately map deeper than 150 m, with some surveys reaching depths of nearly 400 m.

On the pier at the Richard B. Gump Research Station, Rhonda Suka, Kevin O’Brien, and John Rooney on July 28 swap onboard diesel generator units of the R/V AHI. NOAA photo by Frances Lichowski

On the pier at the Richard B. Gump Research Station, Rhonda Suka, Kevin O’Brien, and John Rooney on July 28 swap onboard diesel generator units of the R/V AHI. NOAA photo by Frances Lichowski

A wide shot of Opunohu Bay on the north shore of Mo‘orea, French Polynesia, with striking pinnacles in the background, as seen from the R/V AHI on Aug 1. NOAA photo by Kevin O’Brien

A wide shot of Opunohu Bay on the north shore of Mo‘orea, French Polynesia, with striking pinnacles in the background, as seen from the R/V AHI on Aug 1. NOAA photo by Kevin O’Brien

On a typical day of surveying during this mission, the CRED team split into 2 work parties. Two team members were selected to operate the AHI, requiring a refreshing morning swim to retrieve the boat from its mooring at the Gump Research Station. Each day, a new survey area was chosen, and the boat transited to the survey area to conduct multibeam surveys, returning to Gump Research Station in the evening. On some days, operations required a complete circumnavigation of the island. While the AHI was on the water, the other work party remained onshore to process and clean the data collected the previous day as well as to provide shore-side support in the event it was needed.

The mission went remarkably smoothly, with only one mechanical setback that required swapping of an onboard diesel generator because of a blown oil seal. In the final days of this mission, from Aug. 4–7, the team finished surveying all targeted areas on Mo‘orea and turned its attention to mapping a few select areas off the northwestern shore of Tahiti, areas that are also of interest to LTER researchers.

A view of Cook’s Bay and its surrounding mountains, as seen from the R/V AHI at magic hour in the late afternoon of Aug. 1. NOAA photo by Kevin O’Brien

A view of Cook’s Bay and its surrounding mountains, as seen from the R/V AHI at magic hour in the late afternoon of Aug. 1. NOAA photo by Kevin O’Brien

Posted in Coral Reef Ecosystem Division (CRED) | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

University of Guam Barcoding of Local Life project aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette

Submitted by Louise Giuseffi

The NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette is currently conducting fisheries research in the nearshore waters of Guam as well as the surrounding offshore banks. The mission has three primary projects and this blog highlights the work of one of the major partners, the University of Guam Marine Laboratory.

University of Guam graduate students (a.k.a. Team Triton) aboard the Sette are collecting non-commercial and non-subsistence reef fish samples for the genetic Barcoding of Life project (http://www.barcodeoflife.org). The ship provides a platform for students to target these fish species which are not readily available at the Guam Fishermen’s Cooperative where most of their routine samples come from. The team is utilizing several methods to collect these difficult to acquire species.

UOG students Taryn Mesa, Marylou Staman, Brad Wells and PIFSC Biotech Eric Mooney pose on a small boat with the Oscar Elton Sette in the background.

UOG students Taryn Mesa, Marylou Staman, Brad Wells and PIFSC Biotech Eric Mooney pose on a small boat with the Oscar Elton Sette in the background.

Students have learned to deploy traps to catch fish and invertebrate samples from 40 -140 m depth. Several small reef sharks were caught in the traps and the team was able to take small tissue samples from fin clips and release the sharks alive. This is important because typically nonlethal sampling of sharks is very difficult!

UOG student AJ Reyes cuts bait to put into the traps

UOG student AJ Reyes cuts bait to put into the traps

UOG students prepare traps to send to the seafloor

UOG students prepare traps to send to the seafloor

OES crew retrieve traps after a soak time of 12-24 hours

OES crew retrieve traps after a soak time of 12-24 hours

Students are lowering a special night-light over the side of the ship to attract fish. The fish, including flying fish and juvenile reef fish are then captured with a handheld dip net. “I really enjoyed the night light dip netting. It’s a lot harder than it looks but once you get the hang of it, it’s kind of like a game. It really surprised me how easy it is to catch the flying fish. They literally swim into your net!” –Taryn Mesa

UOG students AJ Reyes and Taryn Mesa night light dip netting for fish samples

UOG students AJ Reyes and Taryn Mesa night light dip netting for fish samples

The students are also interested in reef fish larval connectivity. To collect these species they are using an Isaac’s-Kidd trawl at 30m and 100m deep during evenings. The ultimate goal is to better understand fish larvae recruitment patterns around Guam and the surrounding banks.

The Isaac’s-Kidd (or IK trawl) is being pulled back onto the ship to collect samples

The Isaac’s-Kidd (or IK trawl) is being pulled back onto the ship to collect samples

UOG student Allison Miller sorts through the catch from the IK tow for species of interest

UOG student Allison Miller sorts through the catch from the IK tow for species of interest

A juvenile Chaetodon kleinii just under 4cm

A juvenile Chaetodon kleinii just under 4cm

“ While the IK Trawls have produced some very interesting specimens, I think I’d have to say that setting the traps has been my favorite operation so far because the process was exciting to learn and we’ve gotten to safely sample shark species that can be difficult to handle with other fishing techniques.” -Marylou Staman

When asked what was the strangest creature the students had seen on this trip:

“ Definitely the alien-like lobster larvae (phyllosoma) from the IK Trawl. I’ve seen different stages of crustacean larvae before, but this one was so different – it was as large as my palm, flat as paper and completely translucent.” –Marylou Stalman

Lobster larvae

Lobster larvae

“In one of our crab pots, we caught two Calappa calappa or shame-faced crabs. The shape of their claws, one club-like and the other dagger-like, are designed for eating snails. Although my favorite part about them is the shape of their shell and how when they pull their claws into their body, it looks as though they are covering their face, in a bashful or shameful way, hence their name.” –Taryn Mesa

Shame-face crab

Shame-face crab

Small boat coxswain and boating teacher Jamie Barlow teaches UOG students a knot-tying class.

Small boat coxswain and boating teacher Jamie Barlow teaches UOG students a knot-tying class.

“This cruise has given us the unique opportunity to study the parts of our coastline that have been impossible to reach with our limited resources on Guam. My favorite part so far was being able to survey the northern coastline around the Pati Point preserve because that area is usually very difficult to reach with the small boats we use at the Marine Lab. I feel very lucky to be able to survey some of these areas that most people on Guam will never be able to see.” – Marylou Staman

Posted in Fisheries Research and Monitoring Division (FRMD), Scientific Operations | Tagged , , , ,

The Challenges of Targeting Uncommon Bottomfish Species in CNMI Waters

Bottomfish Bio-sampling from the Small Boat on the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette Cruise (SE-14-04 Legs I and II) to the Northern Mariana Islands

The expression “well that’s why it’s called fishing and not catching” is something a friend or a spouse might say to support and cheer-up a weary angler from a long day on the water with little or nothing to show for it.

The PIFSC 19’ Safe Boat sits in its cradle aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette, ready for its morning launch and operations at Maug. In the far background the island Asuncion sits off in the distance.

The PIFSC 19’ Safe Boat sits in its cradle aboard the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette, ready for its morning launch and operations at Maug. In the far background the island Asuncion sits off in the distance.

For this sampling team in the Northern Mariana Islands, the challenge was not whether we were going to catch fish today, but rather could we find and target certain high priority species when the grounds were loaded with a few dominate and aggressive species, namely Gindai (Pristipomoides zonatus) and Yellowtail Kalekale (Pristipomoides auricilla). Those two fish were like pigeons in a park when all you are trying to do is feed the timid ducks, KaleKale and Gindai were just everywhere. Although they too are needed for the project, they were so common that very soon they became “non-target”.

Local Fisherman Greg Camacho sets up his rig. The guys used thick monofilament main lines with up to 11 hooks on branch leaders. Greg has all of his hooks lined up in a piece of foam ready to be baited.

Local Fisherman Greg Camacho sets up his rig. The guys used thick monofilament main lines with up to 11 hooks on branch leaders. Greg has all of his hooks lined up in a piece of foam ready to be baited.

Within days it became apparent that collecting species of importance would prove to be difficult. The species on the list were: Opakapaka (“pink” and “yellow eye”) (Pristipomoides filamentosus and Pristipomoides flavipinnes), Onaga (Etelis coruscans) and Ehu (Etelis carbunculus).
The team knew each species inhabited different depths, so to find the “magic depth” for each island the team would have to “prospect around” and see what species bit at what depth. There were three things the team noticed:

  1. Each island was different, and as such the species would be found in different depths. For example, Onaga were found shallower (750-850 ft) at Pagan but at other islands like Asuncion and Sarigan they were found deeper in about 890-1000 ft.
  2. The steepness of the slope would determine species. Basically Opakapaka and Silver Mouths (common name Lehi in Hawaii) (Aphareus rutilans) would not be caught on anything that was too steep and they seemed to be in about 540-630 feet of water. There were only a few islands that had the geography that fit a shallow sloped bottom at that depth. Silver Mouths (Lehi) would bite around 600-650 feet of water.
  3. The currents switched around hourly, however if the target fish were not biting, the Gindai and Yellow Tail Kale Kale would. So it was only on certain currents that the target fish would become dominant and jump on the hook first. One thing seemed consistent. The fish would congregate on the lee side of the feature and hide in the eddy. It was just luck and timing that allow us to bring in the prized samples.
Jesse Guerrero fights a fish with the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette in the Background. Jesse provided lots of experience and local knowledge to the collection team. His bait presentation had a different style than anyone else’s; he was very effective.

Jesse Guerrero fights a fish with the NOAA Ship Oscar Elton Sette in the Background. Jesse provided lots of experience and local knowledge to the collection team. His bait presentation had a different style than anyone else’s; he was very effective.

Furthermore, there were large eight-banded Groupers (Hyporthodus octofasciatus) that lurked in the “Onaga range depths”. If you were trying to target Onaga, before you knew it a grouper would jump on and pull your rig into a hole and make you fight to recover your equipment. Grouper are strong powerful predators and when fishing in these remote locations, if they were around, you would find them. Although we would sample groupers for their gonads and otoliths we did not target them. In fact, when we caught enough by day eight, we started to use hooks that would straighten and let the fish swim away. It was unnecessary to collect so many of these giant fish, so the fishermen decided to modify their gear to limit the take of these supreme predators. This was out of respect for the fish that may be older than the fishermen themselves, and because it felt like the right thing to do. Ironically the samples the scientists and fishermen collected on this project will inform the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) of exactly how old they are.

A great example of how difficult it was to target certain species was when Tony Flores was fishing for Onaga and he had just felt a small fish jump on. He guessed it was too small to be an adult Onaga, so he decided to leave the rig down and wait. Within half a minute he got “stuck” the line went tight and it did not budge. The team did boat maneuvers but nothing worked, and they thought they were going to have to bust the rig off. But Tony is a patient guy and slowly he was able to make some ground and within ten minutes line was starting to fill his spool. Fifteen minutes later a huge grouper floated to the surface lifting his five pound lead and his whole rig. It was an amazing fish – the mouth was big enough to fit a basketball. When the monster fish came next to the boat the small fish, a Gindai of course, was inside the grouper’s mouth. Tony needed to use a large meat hook to safely pull this fish into the Steel Toe boat. The team’s guess is the fish hook that caught the Gindai ended up snagging the Grouper in the lip as he went to swallow the tasty one-pound bottomfish.

This Grouper (non-Target) ate a Gindai (non -Target) and the 125 pound fish got hooked in the lip by a small circle hook. Once on-board the eight-Banded Grouper completely filled the cooler and the team had to halt sampling and bring it back to the ship to be processed before resuming.

This Grouper (non-Target) ate a Gindai (non -Target) and the 125 pound fish got hooked in the lip by a small circle hook. Once on-board the eight-Banded Grouper completely filled the cooler and the team had to halt sampling and bring it back to the ship to be processed before resuming.

It is a dog-eat-dog world down there (or should we say, fish-eat-fish), and sampling for certain species meant that catching fish did not always mean it was a productive day for the science the team was here to accomplish. However, for the CNMI fisherman: Jesse Guerrero, Greg Camacho , Tony Flores and Jamie Barlow as coxswain, using their local expertise they overcame these challenges, hunted down the fish needed for the Life History Project and delivered hundreds of valuable samples.

Tony Flores shows the impressive size of this eight-banded grouper.  Tony uses tape on his index fingers to prevent the thin, strong braided line from cutting into his hand when the big fish bite and pull unexpectedly.

Tony Flores shows the impressive size of this eight-banded grouper. Tony uses tape on his index fingers to prevent the thin, strong braided line from cutting into his hand when the big fish bite and pull unexpectedly.

Jesse Guerrero holds up an adult Onaga before re-dropping his rig. Once the team found the target fish they would focus hard on replicating the drifts and bait presentation in hopes to collect more before the current changed, the fish stopped biting or it was time to cease operations and return to the ship.

Jesse Guerrero holds up an adult Onaga before re-dropping his rig. Once the team found the target fish they would focus hard on replicating the drifts and bait presentation in hopes to collect more before the current changed, the fish stopped biting or it was time to cease operations and return to the ship.

Posted in Fisheries Research and Monitoring Division (FRMD), Scientific Operations | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , ,

PIFSC Staff conduct site visit to American Samoa in July 2014

Four Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center (PIFSC) staff conducted site visits to American Samoa in early July, including Risa Oram (Director’s Office – Science Operations), Kolter Kalberg (Socioeconomics and Planning Group (SPG) – Economics Research Program) and Kimberly Lowe (Fisheries Research and Monitoring Division – Insular Fish Monitoring Program) and Michael Quach (Fisheries Research and Monitoring Division – Western Pacific Fishery Information Network WPacFIN).

View of Pago Harbor from Mt. Alava, American Samoa

View of Pago Harbor from Mt. Alava, American Samoa

Continue reading

Posted in Scientific Operations, Socioeconomics and Planning Group | Tagged , , , , , , , ,