NOAA Teacher at Sea
Aboard NOAA Ship Miller Freeman
July 5 – August 1, 2004
Tuesday July 6th, 2004 20:15
Longitude: 171° 25 Sea Wave Height: 0-1′
Latitude: 57° 11 Swell Wave Height: 0-1′
Visibility: 12 (nm) Sea Water Temperature: 9Â°C
Wind Direction: 177Â° Barometric Pressure: 1026.1
Wind Speed: 8.1 kts Cloud Cover: 100% stratus
Depth of haul: 78m
Temperature at depth: 4°C
Species breakdown: Walleye Pollock / Chum Salmon / Jellyfish
Science and Technology Log:
Our first haul for this second leg of the Bering Sea MACE (mid-water assessment and conservation engineering) survey (July 5 – August 1, 2004) was completed at 20:00 with the predominantly walleye catch having been measured for length and the otolith ( ear bone) removed. At this point a data base was established to facilitate in the maintenance and establishment of quotas for fisheries management.
Fisheries Biologist Kresimir Williams recorded the data from the haul; fish length, weight, and maturity status. This is very critical information as the Bering Sea pollock fishery is one of the most successful and healthy fisheries in the world. It is this data that is used to determine how large a catch a commercial vessel can remove for each fishing season. Kresimir has been a fisheries biologist for almost six years researching pollock and developing data streams to assist the North Pacific Fisheries Management Council in determining catch limits.
I am working the four to four shift; four in the afternoon to four in the morning, heck of a schedule for a summer vacation. The best part of this phase is that with the northern summer daylight, you never feel tired; it is light all the time.
This is an amazing experience, an opportunity to see how others live. I have managed to meet everyone on the boat from the Captain CO, to the Chief Scientist, and find it amazing the lives they have chosen to lead. Thrust into this diverse world I am able, ever so briefly; to see how others live, how they earn a living, make daily contributions to society, find happiness.
The Miller Freeman, as I have been told has one of the most rigorous schedules within the NOAA task force, with approximately 260 days a year at sea. Many of the crew considers this vessel the workhorse of the fleet, managing to collect data that is vital in fisheries management. It is also amazing to observe the crew and officers on board as they have super attitudes, considering they spend approximately nine months away from their families. I have though been told that as the days get longer (actually shorter) and we get closer to our thirty day mark that the moral officer has to work a bit harder to keep spirits elevated. All I know is that I have been welcomed into all aspects of this vessel, from the engine room to the galley, the scientific labs to the weight room. Today I learned how to sex a fish, ever so basically; I mean can anyone think of a better way to spend a vacation?