On April 10, 2012, San Diego's ABC 10News aired “Scientists to Set Sail to Monitor Sardines: Scientists on Bell M. Shimada to Survey Coastal Waters from Mexico to Santa Barbara”
Southwest Fisheries Science Center researchers and partners from Scripps Institution of Oceanography set sail on April 11th from San Diego as part of the 2012 Coastwide Ecosystem Survey. Designed to survey the distributions and abundances of small pelagic fish, their prey and their biotic and abiotic environments in the California Current, the survey will gather a wide range of data that are used in the sardine stock assessment. Two oceanographic research vessels, the NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada and the R/V Ocean Starr are surveying the area between San Diego and the Canadian border. This is the fifth Coastwide Ecosystem Survey, previous years include 2006, 2008, 2010 and 2011.
Specific survey objectives include:
- to describe the spatial distribution of ichthyoplankton and small pelagic fish, including Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax);
- to obtain measurements of instantaneous egg production and adult fecundity required for an estimate of spawning biomass using the daily egg production method;
- to collect oceanographic and environmental data to describe the coastal and offshore habitats of the California Current ecosystem;
- to collect fishery independent CPS (coastal pelagic species) specimens throughout the survey pattern for genetics, micro-chemistry, maturity, age and fecundity determination, and to estimate spawning biomass of sardine;
- to acoustically identify and quantify fish abundance using multi-frequency acoustics. The data will be used in combination with information from trawls and bongo nets to estimate the distributrions and abundances of coastal pelagic fishes (e.g., sardine, anchovy and mackerel) and krill.
Learn more: SWFSC Fisheries Resources Division's coastal pelagic research program
View the track of the vessel Bell M. Shimada: http://shiptracker.noaa.gov/shiptracker.html (select Shimada and last 30 days on the menus).
View the near-real time sardine egg count results of the survey:
Read the most recent sardine stock assessment report: Assessment of the Pacific Sardine Resource in 2011 for U.S. Management in 2012 (Hill et al. 2011)