NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard R/V Savannah
July 18 — 29, 2011
Mission: Reef Fish Survey
Geographical Area: Southeast Atlantic Ocean
Date: July 19, 2011
Science and Technology Log
Hopefully I will write more this time because the boat is much calmer today. After that day with 4 to 6 foot waves I will never use the expression “rollicking good time” again.
The reason the weather is so calm today is because the tropical storm Bert is Northwest of our boat and is going towards the middle of the Atlantic. Bert has created a nice high pressure system for us. The water seems much more calm and it is a beautiful day. I never thought I would be thankful for a tropical storm.
You may be wondering, and if you are not wondering, you should, what I am doing on a ship called Savannah? Why am I twenty to thirty miles off the coast of Florida? Why are we trying to catch fish? Why don’t I stop all these questions and get to the point?
Well the purpose of this mission is to gather data about the population and the condition of reef fishes off the coast of Florida and Georgia. The four species groups we are researching are Groupers, Sea Basses, Snappers, and Porgies. The reason we are doing this is not only important, but essential. We have to know the status of our fish population off our coastal waters. We need to know if we are over fishing or if we are improving in conservation.
Sorry for another question, but how do we count the population of fish, especially reef fish? It’s not like caribou or something where you can take a picture from a helicopter and count a herd. We can obviously never have a specific count but we get an idea by dropping traps with bait at the bottom of the reefs. These traps also have undersea digital cameras to view the surroundings and fish that are not caught. The fish that are caught are dissected to get an idea of their age and reproductive state. This is a very important job I am trying to avoid.
(This is the last question I promise.) Who are these scientists and engineers that participate in this great effort? Well, this is my blog and I really do not want to talk about them. I am selfish like that. Seriously they are great people and I will blog later about them. ( I find writing about this trip a battle because I feel I just want to start a new subject and just keep writing. I am trying to avoid that for your sake.) I would just like to tell you the scientists are all pretty intelligent, and in that case they will probably read this blog.
Here I am in my survival suit, often referred to as a Gumby suit, in case we ever have to abandon ship.