Kathy Schroeder: Maintenance During Tropical Storm Imelda, September 18, 2019

NOAA Teacher at Sea

Kathy Schroeder

Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II

September 15-October 2, 2019

Mission: Shark/Red Snapper Longline Survey

Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico

Date: 9/18/19

Weather Data from the Bridge

Latitude: 29.3088855
Longitude: -94.7948546
Temperature: 78°F
Wind Speeds: SSW 17 mph

NOAA Ship Oregon II
NOAA Ship Oregon II September 16, 2019

Science and Technology Log

While we are waiting to get started with our research survey that collects fisheries-independent data about sharks, I’ll tell you a little about how other NOAA scientists collect information directly from the commercial shark fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico.

Southeast Shark Bottom Longline Observer Program

Southeast Program

The Shark Bottom Longline Observer Program works to gather reliable data on catch, bycatch, and discards in the Shark Bottom Longline Fishery, as well as document interactions with protected species. Administered by the Southeast Fishery Science Center’s Panama City Laboratory, the data collected by observers helps inform management decisions.  NOAA hires one to six observer personnel under contractual agreements to be placed on commercial fishing vessels targeting shark species. Program coordinators maintain data storage and retrieval, quality control, observer support services (training, observer gear, documents, debriefing, data entry), and administrative support. 


This shark bottom longline fishery targets large coastal sharks (e.g., blacktip shark) and small coastal sharks (e.g., Atlantic sharpnose). Groupers, snappers, and tilefish are also taken. The shark bottom longline fishery is active on the southeast coast of the United States and throughout the  Gulf of Mexico. Vessels in this fishery average 50 feet long, with longline gear consisting of 5 to 15 miles of mainline and 500 to 1500 hooks being set. Each trip has a catch limit ranging from 3 to 45 large coastal sharks, depending on the time of year and the region (Gulf of Mexico or south Atlantic). Shark directed trips can range from 3-5 days at sea.

In 2007, NOAA Fisheries created a shark research fishery to continue collection of life history data and catch data from sandbar sharks for future stock assessment. This was created as sandbar sharks are protected due to lower population numbers that allowed for some very limited commercial take of the animals and allows for collection of scientific data on life history etc. A limited number of commercial shark vessels are selected annually and may land sandbar sharks, which are otherwise prohibited. Observer coverage is mandatory within this research fishery (compared to coverage level of 4 percent to 6 percent for the regular shark bottom longline fishery). 


Personal Log

Well, I guess you were hoping to hear from me sooner than this.  I arrived in Galveston, TX on September 15th.  I boarded NOAA Ship Oregon II and got settled in my room.  The 170 foot ship was tugged into port early due to a broken part.  Today is Wednesday September 18th , and we are still waiting to leave.  Fingers crossed it will be tomorrow morning.  During this time I was able to meet with the crew members and scientists and familiarize myself with the ship.  I was able to walk around Galveston and learn about its history.  We were able to go out to dinner where I have had amazing oysters and a new dish “Snapper Wings” at Katie’s Seafood Restaurant.   It was delicious and so tender. I would definitely recommend it!      

During our time in port we were also hit with Tropical Storm Imelda. We have had lots of rain and flooding in the area. 

snapper wings
Snapper Wings at Katie’s Seafood Restaurant, Galveston, TX
Fresh Oysters at the Fisherman’s Wharf, Galveston, TX

Shout Out:  Today’s shout out goes to my nephews Eastwood and Austin and my sister Karen and her husband Casey in Dallas, TX.  I also want to say Hi to all of my marine students at PRHS.  Hope I didn’t leave you all too much work to do 🙂 Keep up with your blog ws!

14 Replies to “Kathy Schroeder: Maintenance During Tropical Storm Imelda, September 18, 2019”

  1. Hi Kathy, it’s Briana Peltier. I did not realize you’re right in the rains and flooding in Texas due to the Tropical Storm. I have been seeing that in the news, and how it is a state of emergency from all the damage. Some parts are up to 40″ of rain over night. I hope everyone is taking the precautions needed, and getting the help they need. I know there are many relief efforts for all these storms and hurricanes.
    It’s cool that you are capturing this via blog. It will be an awesome resource to reflect upon in years to come. Stay safe, and I told your kids to comment on your blog as well! <3

    1. Dorian did only one thing to my area: cable. Cable went out and I lived off my mobile hotspot. A week later and realized I burned over 20+ gigabytes worth of data (out of 5gb). It is a good thing everything went fine on your side of things.

  2. It really stunk that you guys had that tropical storm but I’m glad you made it out of it okay. Hope you are having fun on the trip so far.

  3. From your marine class:
    I’m wondering what your biggest catch was? Or what is your favorite shark you got?
    I hope you get back safely!

  4. Hi Ms. Schroeder!
    What kind of toll does tropical storm and hurricane weather take on marine life of the sea and in the gulf? Is this going to affect your findings once you are finally at sea? Thanks! Have fun and we will see you soon!

  5. Hi Ms.Schroeder. I saw the meal you ate while you were waiting because of the storm and i can’t help to wonder what your opinions on overfishing is. Especially since a large portion of the fish population is depleted because of over fishing.

  6. Well, I’m sorry you still haven’t gotten to leave yet. Hopefully when you get to it’ll be better than the events leading up to it. Be safe during the storm.

  7. I was worried when I read that you guys had that tropical storm but I’m glad that everything worked out well. Hope you enjoyed your trip.

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