Susan Brown: Let’s Go Fishing, September 4, 2017


NOAA Teacher at Sea

Susan Brown

NOAA Ship Oregon II

September 3 – 15, 2017

Mission: Snapper/Longline Shark Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico

Date: September 4, 2017

Weather Data from the Bridge

Latitude: 29 43.931N
Longitude: 086 09.617W
Sea wave height: .5 meters
Wind Speed: 2
Wind Direction: 250 degrees
Visibility: good
Air Temperature: 28.3 degrees Celsius
Barometric Pressure: 1016 mb
Sky: partly cloudy

Science and Technology Log

Numbered tags used for each hook
Mackerel used for bait

Today was my first shift. We are using mackerel to bait the 100 hooks that will be places into the water at a specific station. Each hook is numbered so that we can collect data on which hook brought in a fish and entered into the database. There are several jobs out here from baiting the hooks, placing the buoys, flinging the baited hooks out, and recording data in the computer. My job today is the computer.

entering data on the deployment of the baited hooks

The longline is set and left to sit in the ocean for approximately one hour before we start bringing up the line to see if we have a fish on. Out of the 100 hooks we got one fish, a baby tiger shark and a larger juvenile tiger shark coming in at six feet or so. This tiger shark had several hooks in its mouth as well as a tag so when she was brought up on board, all the hooks were removed and the tag replaced with a new one.

Removing hooks from the tiger shark’s mouth

The tag that was on the tiger shark was opened up to reveal a small scroll of paper with a unique number so that this shark can be tracked from where it was first picked up to when it ended up with us for the brief visit. Below is a short video of us bringing up the shark in the cradle! [no dialogue or narration.]

We will be setting another line tonight at our second station as we continue to motor southeast following the coast of Florida.

Beside recording data on the sharks, a CTD is deployed to collect data on conductivity, temperature and depth. We will use this data in the classroom to look for trends between the abiotic factors that may influence where we are finding certain shark species and the number of overall sharks at any given station.

The CTD that measure conductivity, temperature and depth

Personal Log

There are many different scientists on board researching different things. I am sharing a stateroom with Dani who is on the night shift. She is looking into how different sharks handle stress. I see very little of her since we are on opposite shifts so we get a quick visit at noon when there is a changing of the guards so of say. Brett and Carlos, as mentioned in an earlier post, are looking into parasites that inhabit the various animals we are bringing up. I will do a separate blog on those two and their research later this week to share what they are finding.

Donning the survival suit during abandon ship drill

Today we had a few drills to practice in case of an emergency. One was a fire drill and the other was an abandon ship drill where I had to don a large neoprene suit in less than two minutes. Here I am in that suit! It was quite cumbersome to put on.

Learning new words as I get acclimated to the ship. Here are a few for you:

The head = bathroom

Stateroom = room where I sleep

Muster = to assemble

Bow = the front of the ship

Stern = the back of the ship

Did You Know?

Military time is used on board this ship. See the photo of the clock below.

Question of the Day: Why use military time?

NOAA clock

37 Replies to “Susan Brown: Let’s Go Fishing, September 4, 2017”

    1. The boat is 179 feet. This leg we have caught seven different species as well as some eels, snapper, and a shark sucker.

  1. What do you do once in the suit when you abandon ship? Does it have a floatation device? What happens if you encounter a Shark in the water?

    1. It is like a conveyor belt. The replacement teeth are behind and when one falls out another takes it’s place

  2. Diego: what do you do the second you get up? Do you immediately go out there? Whats for breakfast? Are there any meetings?

    1. I generally get up a few hours before my shift and get something to eat. I miss the cooked breakfast everyday because that meal is too early in the morning so I end up eating yogurt with granola as the galley is open with all sorts of snacks to have if you miss a meal. We talk as we enter data into the computer after hauling in the sharks. We had a few meetings before we left port to learn about how the ship operates and to get us newbies acclimated.

  3. If sharks are a kind of fish, why are they called sharks instead of fish? Is it a derivation from their genus family or is it completely random?

    1. So the terms shark and fish are common names. All sharks are fish but not all fish are sharks. Using scientific names, sharks are in a completely different order from bony fish. The naming of all animals is not random and based on morphology and molecular science.

    1. Tagging the sharks provide information on movements and migrations, abundance, age and growth, mortality and behavior. Tagging does not hurt the sharks.

  4. Diego: has hurricane Irma affected your trip at all? How bad are the waves? Is it affecting the rate you are cetching sharks? How bad are the sky’s?

    1. Good question! I will be posting a blog tomorrow all about the weather and how it has impacted our survey. Keep an eye out for it. The waves have been 6-8 feet! I will be posting video as well so you can get a sense of what we are feeling out here. As for impacting what we are catching, we will see if the lower salinity of the water due to the amount of rain has impacted what we bring up as we will compare the survey from last year to this year.

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