NOAA Teacher at Sea
NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada
September 1-14, 2018
Mission: Hake Research
Geographical area of cruise: Seattle, Washington to Newport, Oregon
Date: September 9-11, 2018: Day 7-9
Location: West of the Columbia River and Astoria, Oregon
Where Are We? After fishing off of the Straits of Juan de Fuca on Friday and Saturday, we headed south. We ended up west of the Columbia River off the coast of Astoria, Oregon and continued to fish for a few days.
Heather and I with a large hake
A canary rock fish
Hello Sunday morning!
A chilly morning aboard the Shimada outside the Oregon coast
Beautiful cloudy evening
Lots of krill
The fishing and sampling continues: A typical day consists of the scientists waking up before sunrise to begin scouting for fish. We use the information from the acoustic transducer to find fish.
Chief Scientist Rebecca Thomas spots signs of fish on the sonar
The sonar from the acoustic transducer showing signs of fish
Paired Trawling: Last week I wrote about our goals of the cruise. One of them was to perform paired trawls to determine net size impact to evaluate the differences between the US 32mm net liners and the Canadian 7mm net liners. A paired trawl is when we fish approximately the same location and depth two times using two different size liners. Data is collected on the size, characteristics, and species of fish being caught to eliminate the possibility that there is bias in the data between the two liners. Below are pictures of the nets being sent in and brought back based on information from the sonars. This typically happened 2-4 times per day (1-2 paired trawls).
The net out
The net getting pulled back in
The catch being dumped in the hopper
The catch being dumped in the hopper
The catch in the hopper
Sorting the Fish Aboard:
The fish coming down from the hopper
The fish coming down from the hopper
The fish coming down the conveyor belt
Rebecca sorting the fish by species
A yellow rock fish is sorted
The hake continues down the belt
Dr. Dezhang Chu inspects the different species
A rockfish covered with krill
Jellyfish covered in krill
A small squid
Sorting the rockfish
One of numerous hake baskets
Charlie and Heather sorting the catch
A rockfish photo shoot 🙂
How We Collect Data:
When fish come aboard we follow this flow chart to determine what analysis needs to be done on the catch.
Our instructional chart for how we analyze the hake and other species
Hake is the majority of the fish we catch. It is also the main species we are researching this cruise.
A random sample of 250 are set aside and the rest are sent back in to the ocean. Of the approximately 250 random hake, 30 are dissected for enhanced sampling (length, weight, sex, maturity, and other projects).
220 are set aside for sex/length analysis. All other species of fish must be logged into the computer and some are kept for special research projects. See pictures below:
Male vs. female hake distinction:
A Pacific hake
Determining the sex of the hake
A male hake
A female hake
Determining the length of the hake:
Determining the length of rockfish
Determining the length of each hake
Determining the length of hake
Enhanced sampling (length, weight, sex, maturity, and other projects):
Dr. Melanie Johnson dissects a hake
Scientist Steve de Blois measuring hake
Scientist Steve de Blois plus in data from his station
Dissecting the hake to enhance sample
Special Projects: There are also a number of special projects going on aboard:
Fish X-ray: Scientist Dezhang Chu x-rays samples of fish occasionally. The x-ray is used to determine the volume of the swim bladders in certain species of fish (see picture below). The volume of different species’ swim bladders affects the observed acoustics. I spoke to him about the purpose of this study. He said that the present acoustic transducers are great to capture whether fish are present below the ship’s surface but are still not able to classify the type of species being observed. He is working on a team that is trying to use x-ray’s from multiple species to solve that problem. When asked how long he thought it may take for there to be an acoustic system advanced enough to better predict the species onscreen, he said, “People have and will continue to spend their entire careers on improving the system.” If we have more scientists like Dr. Chu on this project, I predict it will be much sooner than he leads on.
X-ray of a rock fish
Dr. Dezhang Chu teaching me about the x-ray project
Dr. Dezhang Chu x-raying a rockfish
Dr. Dezhang Chu x-raying another rockfish
“Super Chu” and I with his new apron I made him for x-raying
Filming the Catch: Melanie Johnson leads the science team’s visual analysis. During each trawl a camera is placed securely on the net. The purpose of the net is to analyze approximately which depth and time certain fish enter the net.
Cameras being detached from the net for analysis
Scientist Melanie Johnson collects data from the camera that was in the fishing net
Camera footage of fish entering the net
Getting to know the crew: As promised in other blog posts, here is another interview from the incredible crew aboard NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada who continue to make my journey such a rich experience:
Mr. Arnold Dones, Head Chef
Arnold Dones is our head chef or what I like to call him, “Master Chef.” Since the minute I’ve been aboard I quickly noticed the incredible work ethic and talent of our chef. To be clear, every meal has incredible! When I spoke to my mom a few days into the cruise my exact words were, “The food aboard is better than a buffet on a cruise ship. I expected to come aboard for two weeks and lose a few pounds. Well that’s not going to happen!”
Chef Arnold and his incredible food artwork
Arnold was born in the Philippines and his family migrated here when he was twenty. When he first got here he knew very little English and worked hard to learn the language and the American culture. He worked a few odd and end jobs until he joined the United States military as a chef. During his first years in the military, he showed so much promise as a chef that he enrolled in “A School” which allowed him to learn how to be a master chef in the military. He spent more than a decade working on military vessels. His last ship placement was aboard the USS Ronald Reagan where he and his team prepared meals for 6,000 soldiers per meal. Two months ago he joined the NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada family as head chef. Arnold has two children and a wife who live back in San Diego.
After a tour of the galley with Arnold, I learned how much work it takes to pull 42 meals in 14 days for over 40 crew members without a supermarket nearby. A few weeks out, Arnold has to create his menu for the next cruise leg (typically two weeks). He then has to order the food required to make the meals and do so by staying under a strict budget. When the ship ends a leg and pulls in to port, a large truck pulls up and unloads all his ordered food in large boxes. He then organizes it in the order he plans to prepare it in his large freezer, refrigerator, and store rooms. The trick is to be sure his menu is organized so nothing spoils before it is used. Arnold’s day begins at 05:00 (5am) and goes until 19:00 (7pm) with a short break after lunch. The only days off he has is a day or two once every two weeks when the boat is in port.
Master Chef Arnold showing me his organized refrigerator
The mess hall
The menu is posted for every meal
An amazing buffet is served three times a day at 7am, 11am, and 5pm.
Salad is available 24 hours a day
Arnold’s art work
Lunch one day
Dinner one night
Here is a sample menu for the day:
Breakfast (7-8am)- Eggs benedict, blueberry pancakes, french toast, hash browns, scrambled eggs, oat meal, cut fresh fruit, and breakfast danish.
Lunch (11-12pm)- Bacon wrapped rockfish, chicken wings, Chinese noodles, brussel sprouts, bread, a large salad bar, homemade salads, avocado, bean salad, homemade cookies, and ice cream.
Dinner (5-6pm)- Stuffed pork chops with spinach and cheese, fine braised chicken thigh, baked salmon, Spanish rice, oven potatoes, peas, dinner rolls, a large salad bar, homemade salads, homemade apple pie, and ice cream.
Snack (24/7)- Soup, crackers, ice cream, and salad/fruit bar
King crab legs!
Crab legs and t-bones at sea 🙂
We dock in Newport, Oregon on Friday, September 14, 2018. My final post will be on Friday. Thank you for continuing to follow along in this journey. I am grateful for your support and for the amazing people I have met aboard.