NOAA Teacher At Sea: Thomas Ward
Aboard NOAA Ship Miller Freeman
Mission: Fisheries Surveys
Geographical Area of Cruise: Eastern Bering Sea
Date: September 16, 2010
Question and Answer for the Teacher at Sea (NOAA)
Let’s jump right in, and not into the Bering Sea, it is too cold.
We have not seen any NOAA buoys, or at least I have not. NOAA does maintain numerous buoys but our mission aboard the Miller Freeman is strictly biological, juvenile flat fish to be specific. The types of little fish that we have caught and persevered for further study (remember the freezer) are; Yellowfin Sole, Pacific Halibut, Northern Rock Sole, Flathead Sole, Alaska Plaice, Arrowtooth Flounder, Kamchatka Flounder Greenland Turbot, and larvae of Long Head Dab. These fish that are being saved are relatively small, about 1-3 inches long, they are juveniles. The scientists are trying to determine the mechanism that controls the development of these juveniles into adults. I was also happy to learn that the scientists that are doing the sampling are also the same scientists that are going to be doing the work back in the lab. The identification of these youngsters seems to be effortless by the group of scientists I am working with, they really know their stuff. I have not seen too many ships here while we are out to sea. Last night I did see a light in the distance and assumed it was another ship but did not confirm it with the bridge. We do not fish to catch food for us on board. In fact there are so many regulations regarding fishing that we just focus on the mission and let the cooks in the galley do what they do, and let me tell you it is good. We often do get a glimpse of land, the pictures of the volcanoes on previous blogs are taken from our ship.
This video shows me measuring flat fish on the magnetic measuring board that I mentioned in an earlier blog. After imputing the species and other pertinent data, on a touch screen monitor, the fish is laid on the board and a device is touched to the board where the tail is. The length of the fish is recorded electronically. The fish that you see in the video are adults of the juveniles related to this FOCI Research Project and we still gather quantitative data on them. After we catalog them they are returned to the ocean where they have a very good chance of surviving. Keep those questions coming.