NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Oregon II
September 15-October 2, 2019
Mission: Shark/Red Snapper Longline Survey
Geographic Area of Cruise: Gulf of Mexico
Weather Data from the Bridge
Wind Speeds: E 5 mph
Science and Technology Log
Retrieving the Longline
One hour after the last highflyer is entered into the water it is time to retrieve the longline. The ship pulls alongside the first highflyer and brings it on board. Two people carry the highflyer to the stern of the ship. The longline is then re-attached to a large reel so that the mainline can be spooled back onto the ship. As the line comes back on board one scientist takes the gangion removes the tag and coils it back into the barrel. The bait condition and/or catch are added into the computer system by a second scientist. If there is a fish on the hook then it is determined if the fish can be brought on board by hand or if the cradle needs to be lowered into the water to bring up the species.
Protective eye wear must be worn at all times, but if a shark is being brought up in the cradle we must all also put on hard hats due to the crane being used to move the cradle. Once a fish is on board two scientists are responsible for weighing and taking three measurements: pre-caudal, fork, and total length in mm. Often, a small fin clip is taken for genetics and if it is a shark, depending on the size, a dart or rototag is inserted into the shark either at the base of the dorsal fin or on the fin itself. The shark tag is recorded and the species is then put back into the ocean. Once all 100 gangions, weights and highflyers are brought on board it is time to cleanup and properly store the samples.
Fish Data: Some species of snapper, grouper and tile fish that are brought on board will have their otoliths removed for ageing, a gonad sample taken for reproduction studies and a muscle sample for feeding studies and genetics. These are stored and sent back to the lab for further processing.
It has been a busy last few days. We have caught some really cool species like king snake eels (Ophichthus rex), gulper sharks (Centrophorus granulosus), yellow edge grouper (Hyporthodus flavolimbatus) and golden tile fish (Lopholaatilus chamaeleontiiceps). There have been thousands of moon jelly fish (Aurelia aurita) the size of dinner plates and larger all around the boat when we are setting and retrieving the longline. They look so peaceful and gentle just floating along with the current. When we were by the Florida-Alabama line there were so many oil rigs out in the distant. It was very interesting learning about them and seeing their lights glowing. One of them actually had a real fire to burn off the gases. There were also a couple sharks that swam by in our ship lights last night. One of the best things we got to witness was a huge leatherback sea turtle (Dermochelys coriacea) that came up for a breath of air about 50 feet from the ship.
26 Replies to “Kathy Schroeder: Retrieving the Longline, September 30, 2019”
How long is the longline and what was the approx. number of organisms surveyed? Where there more sharks than snappers or vice-versa?
How long, on average, does it take to bring up the species that’s been caught, measure it, and return it back to the ocean?
What is your favorite fish you caught on the trip?
I am happy to see the amount of safety measurements the team takes by wearing safety goggles and hard hats with a big catch. There are so many great standards shown, hopefully making it easier for you guys to perform and record the most accurate measurements.
I love all the different species shown. This must be a life and perspective changing experience. Especially due to your field. You must learn so much and translate this into your work.
I didn’t think that there would be sharks that were only four feet and ten inches long. It’s incredibly interesting how big or small the varying species of sharks can be. Getting to see pictures of the fish that are caught is very exciting as well.
What was the length of the king snake eel?
Whoa Mrs. Schroeder you have caught a lot of interesting species on your trip. It is amazing to see the amount of creatures that are living in these ocean ecosystems. So would all of these species be part of the same food chain or do they live separately in different areas of the ocean?
Why does the grouper’s eyes pop out like that?
Why is the condition of the bait important?
Hello Ms.Schroeder, is there is any other way to find out about a fish and its past besides extracting/removing it’s otoliths?
What is an otolith, and how does it help tell the age of the snappers?
Retrieving the longline and all your tasks throughout the blogs seem pretty difficult and tiring. I hope you come back soon!
Retrieving the longline and all your tasks seem pretty difficult and tiring. I hope you come back soon!
What was the biggest shark you captured?
What was the biggest shark you captured?
What was it like to be out on the water all day for that long?
What was your favorite task or activity you has to perform during your trip?
When you pull the shark up out of the water is it difficult to pull it out of the cradle and onto the deck?
How much weight can the cradle carry
How big was the leatherback Sea Turtle?
What was your favorite species/animal that you caught throughout the whole trip?
The large tiger shark looks amazing, I am curious to how old that tiger shark is and how long they live for in the wild. I think it is crazy what odd creatures live in the oceans, and why so large eyes on the grouper.
I found all the procedures and activities very interesting and would like to know the requirements to practice in an activity like this in the future. 🙂
I was just wondering, because I don’t know much about the process of catching fish and sharks, what keeps the creatures attached to the longline once they’ve taken the bait?
How do you feel about the number of oil rigs of the coast? Are you concerned about spills?