2000 FRD News, Meetings, and Visitors
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December 19, 2000
- John Hunter reports that the Trinational Sardine Forum that he co-chaired with Tim Baumgartner (CICESE, Ensenada Mexico, SIO, UCSD) was a remarkable success. The Forum, an outgrowth of the Sardine 2000 meeting, was held in Ensenada November 29-December 1, 2000. It was attended by academic and fishery-agency scientists and industry representatives from Canada, U.S., and Mexico. The objectives of the meeting were to provide a forum for discussion of issues concerning the tri-national fishery for sardine, and to develop an implementation plan that will provide baseline data needed for coast-wide assessment of Pacific sardine. Participants in the Sardine 2000 meeting had concluded that implementation of such a plan was feasible only if in-kind contributions were made by industry, fishery agencies and academia, and if a cooperative network were established to share the data produced by each nation.
During plenary discussions of the Forum, all groups agreed in principle to these two key elements of the proposed implementation plan. The forum then broke into three working groups charged with writing elements of the implementation plans. Each element was to succinctly describe objectives and approach for the data class, identify contact people and agencies that had agreed to cooperate, specify delivery dates for the information, and identify industry and agency contributions.
Highlights of the three working plans are:
Provide samples of sardine age, length and reproductive state and gonad samples from regions not currently fished by industry. These will be made possible through industry contributions of fishing vessel trips to make the collections.
Establish a common trinational sardine database in Ensenada, available to all on a Web site, maintained through cost sharing from Canada, U.S. and Mexico.
Provide regional biomass estimates based on NWFSC egg surveys off Oregon with enhanced NWFSC trawl samples of hydrated females using spotter pilot location of sardines as an industry contribution, spawning biomass estimates based on combining IMECOCal egg and larval surveys with those of CalCOFI from Baja California to San Francisco, CA, and regional indices of sardine abundance off Oregon and Washington based on NWFSC trawl surveys west of Vancouver Island based on Canadian trawl surveys, and provide a coastwide collection of sardine in January 2001 using a Canadian research vessel.
Assemble existing data on the relationship between vertebral count and temperature at spawning and develop a sampling program of using vertebral counts to identify spawning stocks of sardine.
All of these activities shall provide new information on age and size structure of the population, regional biomass, reproduction, and movements; thereby enabling the development, for the first time, of a coast-wide stock assessment model that takes into account distribution of movements of sardines over their full range. A target of 2002 was set for the development of the model, provided that these plans are implemented.
Lastly, the Forum agreed to meet again near the end of November 2001 in Ensenada to assess progress in the implementation, and to discuss current events in this trinational fishery.
- Paul Crone, Ray Conser, and Gary Sakagawa attended the Seventeenth North Pacific Albacore Workshop that was held at the National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan from December 6-13, 2000. The ongoing workshops address fishery-related issues pertaining to the albacore population of the North Pacific Ocean. Paul presented a paper concerning important time series (e.g., size/age distributions and indices of relative abundance) associated with the portion of the migrating 'stock' in the eastern Pacific Ocean; the results are generally necessary for conducting population-wide assessments of this highly migratory species. Ray presented a paper that described a modified stock-production analysis that allows meaningful management-related reference points to be evaluated. Gary served as co-chairman of the workshop and coordinated the preparation of the workshop report. The workshop was attended by researchers from Japan, Taiwan, Canada, as well as the United States (SWFSC and IATTC staff). Participants tentatively agreed to an 'intersessional' meeting in 2001 that will likely be added as a formal session at next year's Interim Scientific Committee (ISC) meeting. At this ISC meeting, albacore researchers will exchange data sets necessary to conduct age-structured analyses across the stock's entire (pan-Pacific Ocean) range. The next workshop will be held here at the SWFSC in La Jolla during the latter part of 2002.
- Ray Conser reports that the workshop reviewed the status of the north Pacific albacore stock and perhaps more importantly, established concrete plans for collaborative work among Japanese, Taiwanese, Canadian, and U.S. researchers over the next two years. Considerable work is needed to improve the albacore assessments. Most of the data issues are on the western side (Japan and Taiwan) but there are also important biological (e.g. growth and reproductive biology) and modeling aspects where SWFSC scientists (and others) can make significant contributions.
- Ron Lynn and Ray Slanina attended the annual CoastWatch meeting of CW node managers held in Charleston, SC, Dec 6-8. Presentations were given by each of the eight node managers. Lynn reported on operations and activities at the La Jolla node. There were presentations and discussions on CW products available on the Ocean Products Server including oceans winds, GOES-SST, and ocean color, as well as on changes in the satellite data archiving system. Node budgets are scheduled to remain flat for this fiscal year. In subsequent years NESDIS wants to shift partial or all funding of the nodes to user agencies and/or other line agencies. Slanina also attended a class on GIS training that was sponsored by CW and conducted at the NOAA Coastal Services Center in Charleston.
- Dr. Walter Nellen, former Director of the Institute for Hydrobiology and Fisheries Science, Hamburg, Germany completed a one-month research visit with Geoff Moser and the larval fish ecology group. Dr. Nellen is studying fish larvae collected on an expedition to the Meteor Seamount in the northeastern subtropical Atlantic. During his visit the group was able to solve nearly all of his larval fish identification problems. This was the second visit of Dr. Nellen to our laboratory. He spent a year here in 1967-68 working on larval fish collections taken during the International Indian Ocean Expedition. At that time Dr. Nellen was a professor at Kiel University, Kiel, Germany.
- Sue Smith is working on analysis of proposed HMS draft regulatory options associated with shark conservation, essential fish habitat, and harpoon fishery option categories for the January HMS FMP Development Team meeting in January.
- Dave Au prepared a chapter for the HMS FMP and participated in discussing FMP options. He also peer reviewed a manuscript for "Sharks of Open Ocean."
- Nancy Lo reports that the paper, "Using a continuous egg sampler for ichthyoplankton survey: application to the daily egg production of pacific sardine off California," by Lo, John Hunter and Richard Charter was accepted by Fishery Bulletin.
November 28, 2000
- John Hunter, Nancy Lo, John Butler, Paul Smith, and Ray Conser will be in Ensenada, Mexico this week to participate in the Trinational Sardine Forum, an international meeting to implement and coordinate data collection that will permit coast-wide assessments on Pacific sardine covering the current expanded range extending from British Columbia, Canada to Baja California, Mexico.
- John Childers, Paul Crone, Doug Prescott and Al Coan summarized U.S. and Canadian Pacific albacore troll fishery catches and effort inside and outside the Canadian and U.S. EEZs, estimates of total albacore catch and number of vessels from the Canadian troll fishery that landed in U.S. ports and estimates of total U.S. albacore catches. The information was presented by Gary Sakagawa at a Treaty meeting between the U.S. and Canada in Seattle on November 20. The U.S.-Canada Treaty was established to allow Canadian vessels to fish in the U.S. EEZ and land their catches in specified U.S. ports and also to allow U.S. vessels to fish in the Canadian EEZ. The U.S. and Canada are to exchange information on the amounts of their catch in the other's EEZ.
- Al Coan summarized U.S. North Pacific bluefin tuna catches for Gary Sakagawa who will be attending an Interim Scientific Committee Bluefin Workshop in Shimizu, Japan on November 30 to December 2.
- Dave Holts reports that he has received tag returns from Ensenada of two mako sharks tagged with oxytetracycline during the shark survey in June. Unfortunately, the fishers did not save any of the vertebrae for our age and growth studies. However, blood samples were collected at release and both indicated high, sublethal lactate levels.
November 21, 2000
Paul Crone attended the Fall Director's Meeting of the American Fishermen's Research Foundation (AFRF) that was held in Laughlin, NV on November 9, 2000. Crone presented results from a collaborative project between AFRF and the SWFSC regarding an at-sea collection of biological data from the U.S. albacore troll fleet that recently was completed. The AFRF focused much attention on management-related issues currently confronting the industry, such as U.S. and Canada 'treaty' arrangements and new regulations concerning declaration of fishing practices and logbook processing stipulated by the California Department of Fish and Game. The next meeting will be held in La Jolla in late January 2001.
Paul Smith and Nancy Lo started a research project on the migration model for Pacific sardine based on a migration model used for Pacific hake. They will start with a historical data set of Pacific sardine collected by commercial boats in 1930 - 34 off California. They are also investigating data sets for sardine from Canadian water. The results of this study will replace the current model developed by Richard Parrish and will be used for the Pacific sardine stock assessment to estimate the percentage of sardines by length migrating out of the survey area so as to obtain unbiased estimates of the biomass of Pacific sardine.
The Highly Migratory Species Plan Development Team met in the Large Conference Room last week (November 14-16) to continue development of the HMS Fishery Management Plan. Attending were Team members: David Au, Norm Bartoo, Sam Herrick, Susan Smith, and Dale Squires, along with Donna Dealy, Ray Conser, and Dave Holts. The Team discussed management options. The Team will meet in February in a joint meeting with the Advisory Subpanel to discuss management options and their analysis. SWFSC Team members will analyze the different options in preparation for that meeting. Squires reports that OMB has approved the economic surveys of the albacore and drift gillnet fleets, which will be used to conduct Regulatory Impact Reviews and Regulatory Flexibility Act analyses.
Dave Au prepared a Policy Section for managing HMS species which he presented at the Plan Development Team meeting, November 14-16.
Dave Holts attended the Electronic Tagging of Pacific Pelagics (TOPP) in Monterey, CA. It was a very successful Workshop designed to research Pacific ecosystems by using nearly 3500 archival and satellite tags on about 16 specific pelagic species to ultimately define their habitat within the Pacific ecosystem. That is, the results (habitat and oceanographic) from these selected pelagics will be combined to describe not only their habitat but the entire ecosystem as well. This is a pilot project under the well funded Census of Marine Life programs. We were able to get striped marlin and blue sharks included as primary research species and thresher sharks included as first backup species.
Holts also met with Dennis Hansford (HQ) and Don Petersen (SWR) to discuss issues of the observer programs and collection protocols for driftnet and longline fisheries.
Dr. Walter Nellen, Professor of Fishery Biology from the Institute of Hydrobiology and Fisheries Science, Hamburg University, Germany is visiting the Lab (November 17-December 15) to work on a fish larvae collection from the area of the Great Meteor Seamount in the Subtropical Center North Atlantic. He is interested in identifying the taxonomy of the larvae he collected at the Seamount in 1998.
November 14, 2000
This week (November 14- 16) the Highly Migratory Species Plan Development Team will meet here at the La Jolla Laboratory to discuss HMS FMP development for the Pacific Fishery Management Council. Topics of discussion will include control rules and conservation measures for HMS sharks, species bycatch and data collection issues, evaluation of the driftnet-longline proposal, and the first collated draft of the plan to date. Susan Smith has been working on a proposal to slightly revise EFH outer boundaries for three of the most tropical management unit species. She will also discuss patterns of preferred temperature habitat for these species off southern California as they may relate to the longline proposal.
Dave Holts, John Butler and Chuck Oliver took part in a white abalone survey. Dave Holts is attending the Census of Marine Life workshop on electronic tagging of Pacific pelagics in Monterey, CA (November 12-14).
November 7, 2000
At the year-end meeting of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, held from October 31 to November 3, 2000 in Vancouver, WA, Paul Crone presented results from a recently completed assessment of the Pacific sardine population off the Pacific coast of North America. The assessment was based on an age-structured modeling approach that included both fishery-dependent and -independent data. The assessment was jointly conducted by staff of the CDF&G and the SWFSC. The Council accepted the recommended Harvest Guideline of roughly 135,000 mt for the upcoming fishing season that begins on January 1, 2001.
Last Wednesday Amy Hays and Dimitry Abramenkoff returned from the fall CalCOFI cruise on the New Horizon. They had a couple days of bad weather that caused some minor damage to the MOCNESS but were still able to complete the pattern.
David Au has been working on a Management Policy statement for HMS species in the FMP with Sue Smith and Norm Bartoo.
October 31, 2000
Sue Smith continues to work on designating essential fish habitat for highly migratory species (HMS) with Rand Rasmussen for the HMS draft FMP. She also has been working with the Center's Coast Watch group on average sea surface temperature structure in the Southern California Bight as it might relate seasonal and areal distribution of tropical tunas and marlin and habitat use within the EEZ. Also, Henry Orr has been helping Smith, Antonella Preti and Darlene Ramon finalize a poster on thresher shark food habits that Preti will present at the CalCOFI conference next week.
October 24, 2000
- Al Coan, with the help of Rich Cosgrove, has created an file transfer protocol (FTP) site on the ITS server LJSWC to house the Pacific albacore database to be used by the 17th North Pacific Albacore Workshop participants. The workshop will be held in Taipei, Taiwan, in December 2000. The database contains summarized catch-effort and size-frequency data by month and area strata for Japan, Korea, Taiwan and the US. Access to the data is limited to Workshop participants.
- John Butler and Chuck Oliver conducted white abalone surveys using an ROVduring the weeks of October 2-6 and 9-13. During the first week, abalone habitat at Santa Catalina and San Clemente Islands was surveyed. Due to weather, surveys were confined to Catalina during the second week. A total of eight white abalone and two pink abalone were found during two weeks of searching. All of the abalone were located near Santa Catalina Island at depths of 36 to 56 m. The ROV has proven to be a very useful tool to locate abalone because it provides unlimited bottom time at depths that are near the limits of scuba divers. Future cruises are scheduled to coordinate with CDFG divers to collect white abalone for captive breeding and enhancement efforts.
October 11, 2000
Al Coan, Doug Prescott and Dale Squires attended the working group meeting of representatives of the parties to the Treaty on Fisheries between the Governments of Certain Pacific Island States and the Government of the United States. The meeting was held at the United States Tuna Foundation office in San Diego October 3-4 to discuss technical issues regarding the treaty. The meeting was attended by representatives of the Forum Fisheries Agency, U.S. State Department, SWR Enforcement, SWFSC scientists, USTF representatives and purse seine vessel owners. The U.S. industry stressed that the declining prices paid for skipjack tuna combined with record catches in all oceans has severely affected vessel profits and the U.S. fleet's capability to compete, especially with subsidized fleets fishing in the treaty area. The U.S. urged the Forum Fisheries Agency to seriously consider, for the upcoming meeting on extension of the treaty to be held on November 28th, expediting the final approvals to open Solomon Island waters to U.S. fishing, adopting capacity limits in the treaty area, and revising the treaty license fees to reflect the current value of the fishery.
Ron Lynn attended the annual Eastern Pacific Oceanic Conference (EPOC) held in Sidney, BC, Canada where he presented a paper (co-author S. Bograd of SIO) on the California Current System response to the 1997-99 El Nino-La Nina. He was also co-author on another presentation concerning the local biological response to these same events. Considerable insight was gained through discussions with other researchers on El Nino-La Nina responses in other west coast regions.
John Butler and Chuck Oliver participated in a 24-hour observation of squid activity during the third week of September using the Center's newly acquired ROV. Operating from a commercial squid boat anchored in the San Diego Marine ecological reserve, the SWFSC team obtained video images between 5 PM and 1 PM the following day, at depths ranging to 290 feet. Oliver has also been busy with preparations for the white abalone surveys using the Center's ROV.
A paper co-authored by Oliver has been accepted for publication in Aquatic Mammals: Measurements of the low frequency components of active and passive sounds produced by dolphins.
Oliver continues to incorporate additional information into the Fisheries Resources Division web site, including some underwater video of spawning squid obtained by Russ Vetter.
Dave Holts gave a short talk to the new driftnet observers on protocol for swordfish and marlin data and specimen collections. Susan Smith and Darlene Ramon gave them instructions on pelagic shark collection. Holts is also working with the San Diego Marlin club to place two satellite pop-up tags on striped marlin.
Susan Smith is working with Rand Rasmussen and Michelle Robinson (Washington Dept. Fisheries) on Essential Fish Habitat descriptions for broadbill swordfish, striped marlin, albacore, yellowfin tuna, bluefin tuna, bigeye tuna, and skipjack tuna for the HMS draft FMP.
Dave Au attended a HMS Plan Development Team meeting September 26-28 where he reported on stock assessment progress.
September 26, 2000
- On September 13, Paul Smith was invited to speak to the Second Colloquium on the Eastern Pacific Oceanography at the Center of Scientific Investigations and Graduate School of Ensenada. He presented a summary of some recent investigations of the Gulf of California conducted by CICESE doctoral students: Yanira Green-Ruiz and Eva Cotero-Altimirano. Smith will explore ideas presented at their committee meetings on 'Carrying Capacity of the Gulf of California and the California Current'.
- Smith also reports that a book edited by P.J. Harrison and T.R. Parsons entitled "Fisheries Oceanography, An integrative approach to fisheries ecology and management has just been published. Smith wrote Chapter 2, entitled "Pelagic fish early life history: CalCOFI overview.
- Nancy Lo finished the initial analysis of daily egg production and the spawning biomass of Pacific sardine based on CalCOFI cruise data. The spatial distribution of sardine eggs from Continuous Underway Fish Egg Sampler (CUFES) is a narrow strip in the center of the CalCOFI survey area, which is only 0.2 of the total survey area of 300,000 km2. In 1999, the area of high density of sardine eggs occupied a wider area, constituting 0.5 of the total survey area. The estimate of egg production /0.05m2 for the total survey area in 2000 is 1.21 (SE=0.52). The estimated biomass of 305,000mt is lower than the 1999 figure of 460,000 mt. Lo also constructed estimates of egg production and spawning biomass based on CalVET samples for 1998-2000 to compare with time series from both CalVET and CUFES samples. This comparison prepared us for 2001 and beyond. Starting in 2001 only egg and yolk-sac samples from CalVET will be staged and used to construct the embryonic mortality curve. The egg count aboard the ship from CUFES will be used primarily to determine the boundary of the high-density area of sardine eggs. CUFES collections will be stored and unsorted in the laboratory.
- David Au, Norm Bartoo, Al Coan, Donna Dealy, Sam Herrick, Susan Smith, and Dale Squires will be attending the HMS Plan Development Team meeting September 26-27 at the Large Conference Room, SWFSC, and September 28 at the Hubbs Sea World Research Center. Dealy, Herrick, and Squires have been busy preparing economic and social descriptions of the fishery.
- Professor Robert McKelvey is visiting Squires and the SWFSC for two months. McKelvey is the founder of the Natural Resource Modeling Association and the Managing Editor of its journal for years. McKelvey holds an NSF grant to analyze international fishing agreements and is interested in the MHLC.
- Sue Smith reports that she completed a briefing document for the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Plan Development Team describing a system for monitoring incidental and bycatch fish species taken in directed HMS fisheries. She recently presented the concept for the proposed monitoring index to the HMS Advisory Subpanel on September 11 in Sacramento, and received favorable comments from the Panel. The monitoring index for non-target species is meant to profile each incidental and bycatch species according to its general biological, distributional, fisheries and economic characteristics, and to serve as a simple proactive management tool for monitoring any changes in those characteristics or our estimates of them. Smith is also working with Rand Rasmussen to complete EFH descriptions for pelagic sharks and dolphinfish for this week's Plan Development team Meeting.
- David Au attended the HMS Advisory Subpanel meeting in Sacramento from September 11-13.
- Au reported on the progress on stock assessment for the HMS Fishery Management Plan at the meetings and to the Pacific Council
- Martha Burford is a graduate student working with Ralph Larson at San Francisco State University. She has done some population genetics work on bocaccio (Sebastes paucispinis) and is now pursuing a project looking at larval and juvenile cohorts of blue rockfish (Sebastes mystinus) using microsatellite data. She will be working in the Genetics and Physiology Lab in the Fisheries Resources Division for two months.
- During the first week of September Dave Holts and Rand Rasmussen participated in the first San Diego Marlin Club's Offshore Invitational all Tag and Release Marlin Tournament. Holts gave a short lecture at the skipper’s meeting on September 7 before departing on one of the tournament boats; Rand Rasmussen also departed on another boat. The tournament lasted two days and was a direct result of the cooperative projects planned during the PacFAAB Workshop. Skippers were provided with tags and vials to collect tissue samples for DNA analysis. Two satellite pop-up tags were to be placed on striped marlin, however no marlin were caught on the two vessels provided with tags.
August 29, 2000
- Ron Lynn and Steven Bograd (SIO) have submitted a manuscript for approval entitled " Dynamic evolution of the 1997-99 El Nino/La Nina cycle in the southern California Current System." The paper is to be submitted to a special issue of Progress in Oceanography devoted to the impact of this El Nino/La Nina event, the strongest ever observed in the tropics, upon the west coast regional waters. The authors investigate the evolution of the physical structure and circulation dynamics of the southern California Current System (CCS) during this period based on hydrographic data collected on 25 cruises over a 45-month period (February 1996 to October 1999). The El Nino period was characterized by a dramatic increase in dynamic height, extreme water mass characteristics, a strengthening and broadening of the poleward nearshore flow, and a temporary reversal of net alongshore transport. By early 1999, conditions in the CCS had reversed. The data suggest that remotely-driven forcing (propagating oceanic waves) contributed to the anomalies observed during the El Nino period, while the cool-water conditions of 1999 were most likely a result of anomalous local atmospheric forcing.
- Ron Lynn notes that the SWFSC made a significant contribution to the observation program. While SIO added eight additional mini-cruises to the schedule of CalCOFI quarterly cruises in order to augment the observation of the event, it was during the specially scheduled November 1997 cruise of the NOAA Vessel McArthur that we observed the strongest dynamic signal of the event which was a reversal in transport as well as record-setting water mass characteristics.
- John Butler and Chuck Oliver will be in San Leandro this week to participate in ROV training. After training, they will return with the Division’s new Phantom ROV and prepare for upcoming white abalone surveys using the ROV.
- In response to the cowcod rebuilding analysis completed by John Butler and Tom Barnes (CDF&G), the California Department of Fish and Game has proposed to the California State Fish Commission to close 6500 sq nmi to demersal fishing. The rebuilding analyses indicate that it will take 97 years for cowcod to recover.
- Sue Smith submitted two manuscripts to the editor of the books "Sharks of the Open Ocean." One on Thresher Sharks with D. Ramon, R. Rasummsen and G. Caillet and the other on Shark Production with D. Au and C. Show. She also continues to work on the life history and essential fish habitat section for dolphinfish for the HMS FMP, and a proposed monitoring or status indexing system for HMS incidental and bycatch species with Norm Bartoo.
- D. Au submitted a manuscript "Shark and teleost productivities and reproductive protection against collapse" to the Editor of "Sharks of the Open Ocean." S. Smith and C. Show are co-authors.
- Au and C. Show continue working on relative abundance indexes for the California common thresher and mako sharks.
- Amy Hays is on the David Starr Jordan for a leg of the Protected Species Division STAR2000 cruise. She will return on September 10, 2000.
August 8, 2000
Russ Vetter reports that the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary has issued a press release describing the consensus to date of the Marine Reserves Working Group. In summary the group stakeholder-based attempt to design no- take reserves within the sanctuary. While the process is far from complete, there is currently a sense of optimism that a diverse group of scientists and user groups can work together to design and implement marine reserves.
Dale Squires is working with Chuck Janisse, FISH representative, to develop a cost-and-earnings survey for drift gillnet fishery for swordfish and sharks. Squires is also working with Dave Kolstad of Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission on OMB Paperwork Reduction Act compliance.
The American Fishermen's Research Foundation and the Southwest Fisheries Science Center have begun a joint research study to learn more about the dynamics of the North Pacific albacore stock. Two biologists (John Childers from NMFS and Brad Gladfelter from the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission) have been placed on commercial troll vessels and will be at sea for four to six weeks. The biologists will be collecting information regarding albacore stock structure and distribution as the population conducts its annual pan-Pacific migration. For further information contact Paul Crone (firstname.lastname@example.org).
John Butler and John Wagner analyzed squid data from the R/V Mako Cruise during February 2000. The mantle length of market squid ranged from 11 to 170 mm, with the mode at 22 mm. The age of these squid range from 62-209 days after hatching with the mode at 109 days. Back-calculated hatch dates indicated that most animals corresponded to a October-December 1999 spawning. These dates are consistent with landings in Southern California during 1999. Preliminary size-at-age data indicate that these squid experience exponential growth in the late juvenile phase before becoming mature.
Butler revised the cowcod rebuilding analysis based on suggestions from the Scientific and Statistical Committee of the Pacific Fishery Management Council. Butler also reviewed a proposal for Sea Grant and paper submitted to Marine Biology.
Sue Smith continues work on finalizing various manuscripts for final submission to Blackwell Scientific's "Sharks of the Open Ocean" and has also begun to describe essential habitat for dolphinfish for the Highly Migratory Species Development Plan. At the Pacific Council's July meeting, the council opted to include dolphinfish, (Coryphaena hippurus), as a management unit species within the HMS FMP.
August 1, 2000
Ray Conser participated in the 13th meeting of the Standing Committee on Tuna and Billfish (SCTB) in Noumea, New Caledonia July 5-12 at the invitation of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. Working papers at the meeting were presented on the biology, fishery statistics, and stock assessment of Pacific tuna, billfish, and shark stocks. The initial overview of western and central Pacific Ocean tuna fisheries noted that the estimated total catch for 1999 for the four main tuna species was 1,716,806 mt, the second highest total catch on record after 1998 (1,893,648 mt). The 1999 catch of skipjack tuna (1,104,121 mt) was slightly down on the record level of the previous year (1,242,45 mt) and as usual dominated the total catch (64%). The yellowfin tuna (393,998 mt) and South Pacific albacore (38,425 mt) catches were also slightly down from the 1998 levels, but the bigeye tuna catch increased (102,295 mt) and was just under the record high taken in 1997 (104,558 mt). National fishery reports provided further details of these catches. The 13th SCTB meeting saw, for the first time, application of the MULTIFAN-CL length-based assessment model to all four target tuna species in the Central/Western Pacific and to North Pacific blue shark. A Methods Working Group was established to provide technical advice to the SCTB on this and similar methods.
Nancy Lo and Bev Macewicz finished the preliminary analysis of estimating annual fecundity of market squid that were collected during research cruises in January and December of 1998 and February 2000. Pre-spawning squid have a fixed number of oocytes available for spawning (reservoir or potential fecundity) but they do not spawn all the oocytes by the end of their lives (remaining or residual fecundity). Three variables that help predict the number of oocytes in the ovary and are included in the analyses are (1) dorsal mantle length (DML), (2) the diameter of the smallest oocyte, and (3) squid condition (as measured by the dry mantle weight per surface area, mg/mm2). The best fits of the data were obtained by using nonlinear regression and exponential functions. We estimated a potential fecundity of 7800 eggs (cv = 0.25) when we set DML to 128 mm (average dorsal mantle length of mature squid from the cruises) and diameter to 0.12 mm (a size where only 17% of the squid are spawning). We estimated residual fecundity to range from 800-1300 oocytes (cv = 0.1) when we set DML to 128 mm, diameter size to 0.53-0.77 mm (top 10% of the size range), and squid condition to 0.322-0.452 mg/mm2 (lowest 10% of it’s range). The difference of potential and residual fecundities is the annual fecundity. Therefore, a female market squid of 128 mm DML could spawn 6500-7000 eggs in her lifetime.
David Au attended the HMS Plan Development Team Meeting, July 17-20, in La Jolla. He gave a report on the status of assessing sharks. Au, Dale Squires, Yongil Jeon (Harvard University) and Dan Cayan (SIO) met on July 21 to discuss the albacore time series study.
Sue Smith reports that the paper 'Biology and ecology of thresher sharks (Family Alopiidae) by Smith, Rassmussen, Cailliet and Ramon has been expanded to include a revised and updated growth curve for the common thresher shark, in cooperation with Greg Cailliet at the Moss Landing Marine Laboratories. Smith and Ramon are busy preparing their aging data from gill net observer-collected samples to see if these data can be combined with the MLML data to come up with a more comprehensive growth curve for both sexes of Alopias vulpinus.
Martin Hernandez-Rivas, a doctoral candidate at CICMAR in La Paz, will be working here from August to October. Hernandez-Rivas is studying the distribution, abundance and temporal change of fishes along the west coast of North America. CalCOFI in general, and our larval fish program in particular, have been assisting Mexico in re-instituting the southern portion of the CalCOFI pattern under the IMECOCAL program, which was last occupied in 1984. IMECOCAL has now completed eight cruises which fortuitously spanned the El Nino of 1998 and the La Nina of 1999. Paul Smith is on Hernandez-Rivas’ graduate committee.
July 18, 2000
Russ Vetter has been appointed to the Biological Review Team for potential listing of three Puget Sound stocks of rockfish under the provisions of the ESA. He will be preparing a summary of his own and previous studies regarding the degree of genetic isolation and the extent to which Puget Sound populations qualify as a distinct population segment under the definitions of the ESA.
Shawn Narum successfully defended his Masters Thesis at the University of San Diego. The title was "Assortative Mating and Incipient Speciation in Gopher and Black-and-Yellow Rockfish". Russ Vetter was the chair and NRC Fellow Vincent Buonaccorsi was a member of the committee. Shawn's work showed that these two rockfish should be managed as separate species and not two color morphs of the same species.
Dave Au, Sam Herrick, Dale Squires, Sue Smith, Norm Bartoo, John Hunter are attending the Highly Migratory Species Plan Development Team Meeting in La Jolla, July 17-20, 2000. The first two days of meetings will be held at the La Jolla Radisson Hotel in the Sorrento/Torrey Room on July 17 and Executive Room July 18 to accommodate a large group of constituents expected to attend those days. The meeting will return to the La Jolla Laboratory's Large Conference Room on July 19 and 20.
Ron Dotson and Amy Hays completed the summer CalCOFI cruise on the New Horizon Friday afternoon. They completed a couple of MIK tows for comparison with the 10 meter MOCNESS being used on the David Starr Jordan.
Rich Charter reports that the shark longline and prerecruit survey cruise on the David Star Jordan was completed Sunday afternoon. Scientists were able to complete 90 10-meter MOCNESS tows collecting 1800 rockfish larvae and juveniles.
Dave Holts reports that 55 longline sampling stations were completed on the shark abundance cruise between June 19 and July 16. Of these stations, 21 were designed to sample common thresher sharks, and 34 sampled shortfin mako and blue sharks. Generally, CPUE for mako and thresher sharks were below previous levels while CPUE for blue sharks was higher than seen in pervious years. Analysis to be completed. In total 51 mako, 34 thresher, and 1003 blue sharks were captured and sampled. Forty mako and 31 thresher sharks were tagged and injected with oxytetracycline for ongoing age and growth studies. Blue sharks (292) were tagged for movement and migration studies. In addition, blood was drawn from 24 threshers, 38 mako and 68 blue sharks for studies on condition at capture and post release survival of tagged fish. No recaptures of previously tagged sharks were taken. Many thanks the entire crew of the David Starr Jordan for their part in making this a most successful survey.
July 11, 2000
Nancy Lo and Bev Macewicz are analyzing market squid fecundity data collected during a Jordan cruise in January 1998, and two CDF&G Mako cruises in December, 1998 and February, 2000. The purposes of these analyses are to understand the reproductive process of market squid and to estimate the total fecundity which may be used to estimate the spawning biomass of the market squid. Generalized Linear Models (GLM) are being used to estimate two reproductive parameters: 1) potential fecundity based on the oocytes of immature squid, and 2). the remaining oocytes of mature squid. The difference of potential fecundity and the residues should be the total fecundity for the market squid. Possible variables that may affect number of oocytes in the ovaries are minimum diameters of oocytes, ovary-free fish weight, fish length, and dried muscle density (gm/mm3).
Duncan McGehee from BAE SYSTEMS and David Demer have prepared an abstract titled "Acoustical study of the prey field and supporting food web for whales in the Ligurian Sea north of Corsica," for the Acoustical Society of America meeting to be held in Newport Beach, CA, 3-8 December. Demer and Adam Jenkins have also been preparing for a third field season (Aug/Sept) associated with this ONR-funded project.
Demer is also preparing for CCAMLR's working group on Environmental Monitoring and Management to be held in Sicily during the last two weeks of July. An estimate of uncertainty in the acoustical sampling method is being derived for the multi-national, multi-ship synoptic survey of krill in the Scotia Sea, conducted last January and February.
Contractor Jennifer Emery has been processing the data from the April CalCOFI multi-frequency acoustical pilot survey. Efforts are being made to correlate the acoustical sampling and CUFES egg-pump data and to derive distributional maps of the primary sound scattering taxa.
Demer is collaborating with the AFSC RACE Division on a project to describe possible avoidance reaction of pollock to a fisheries research vessel, namely the Miller Freeman. Demer developed a passive acoustical system that was on MACE's buoy last month to characterize the power spectrum of the radiated ship noise. The system is being refined for redeployment in August.
Rich Charter reports that the shark longline and prerecruit survey cruise on the David Star Jordan is progressing on schedule. They have completed over 70 ten meter MOCNESS tows. Prerecruits of sardine, squid, mackerel, and rockfish are being taken. Most of the rockfish have been found south of Catalina Island with very few to the north. They have completed 42 shark sets, on track to finish on time. The shark set results are: 32 mako sharks; 969 blue sharks; 10 common threshers, 16 pelagic rays; 1 soupfin; 1 mola; and 1 opah. Overall 7.29 sharks per 100 hook hours. This rate is higher than past surveys due to high numbers of blue sharks. Mako cpue is way down.
John Butler and Chuck Oliver recently completed a number of modifications to the ROV specifications and purchase requests for the Deep Ocean Engineering Phantom HD2 ROV the lab is acquiring for squid and white abalone efforts. Both Oliver and Butler will participate in the California Department of Fish and Game squid survey in Monterey Bay (July 18-28), and then ROV training in San Francisco (August 2-4).
Chuck Oliver met with Navy representatives concerning the potential use of their seafloor mapping systems for use in our white abalone and squid efforts. The Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit is using a Klein 5000 series multiple-beam, side-scan sonar, Triton Elics ISIS sonar software, and a 40-foot catamaran boat to produce bottom topography maps. The system is touted as capable of acquiring imagery in 250-meter swaths at 8-10 kts, with a resolution of 0.5 meters. Currently, the EOD personnel have used a Memorandum of Understanding to allow outside use of the system (boat, crew, and hardware) for about $1,000/ 8-hour day, with the imagery exported to tapes. Oliver plans on a one-day demonstration run off Point Loma in October/November. If successful, the system could be used to map the 30-60 meter waters around San Clemente Island to locate potential white abalone habitat, which would then be surveyed with an ROV.
Ron Lynn submitted a ms titled "Physical-biological coupling in the California Current during the 1997-99 El Nino-La Nina cycle" for approval. The ms, co-authored with Steven Bograd (senior author) of SIO and to be submitted to Geophysical Research Letters, examines the dramatic changes observed in the CalCOFI zooplankton biomass volumes and chlorophyll observations during the El Nino and La Nina in relation to the variations in the physical dynamics and depth of nutricline.
Lynn also reports that the NOAA 15 AVHRR satellite is presently giving erroneous data. NESDIS is seeking a solution. CoastWatch also gets data from the NOAA 14 satellite which is still functioning well.
While Al Coan was not able to attend this year's Standing Committee on Tunas and Billfish, July 5-12, 2000 in New Caledonia due to airline mix-ups, he did send his contributions to Gary Sakagawa for presentation on his behalf. The contributions consisted of the U.S. national report on U.S. fisheries operating in the Central-western Pacific and a proposal for changing the direction of the Statistical Working Group. The U.S. national report was authored by Honolulu and La Jolla staff and contains catch and other fishery statistics for the U.S. purse seine, troll, pole and line, and longline fisheries operating out of ports on the U.S. west coast, Guam, American Samoa, Northern Marianas, Federated States of Micronesia and Hawaii. The document changing the direction of the Statistical Working Group suggests dropping the review of sampling forms and concentrating on evaluation of the adequacy and development of programs for port and observer sampling of fish lengths, species composition, bycatch and discards and other biological parameters needed for stock assessment.
David Au prepared procedures for and estimates of MSY for common thresher and mako sharks for presentation to the HMS Plan Development Team on the 15th. The procedures are based on the rebound potentials previously estimated.
Susan Smith is working on revisions of the two shark manuscripts for the book "Sharks of the Open Ocean," to accommodate new format changes recently proposed to contributors by the editors. The deadline for format-revised papers is August 18.
John Hunter reports that the RecFish 2000 National Symposium on managing marine recreational fisheries in the 21st century that was held at the end of June in San Diego was very well attended, especially by NMFS staff nationally. The Fisheries Division provided support at the meetings with two volunteers: Diane Foster and Doug Prescott.
John Butler presented the cowcod rebuilding analysis to the Scientific and Statistical Committee of the Pacific Fishery Management Council in Portland, Oregon at the end of June.
Dr. Blaise Eitner, Harvard Westlake School (Grades 7-12), Los Angeles is visiting the Division from June 27-July 27. Dr. Eitner is a former NRC post doctoral fellow for the Division; he will be working on population genetics and systematics of thresher sharks using DNA sequencing.
John Childers is at sea collecting albacore fisheries and biological data as an observer aboard a U.S. commercial albacore troll vessel in the Pacific Ocean; he left on June 30th and returns on September 1st.
June 27, 2000
John Hunter is attending the RecFish 2000 National Symposium being held at the Town & Country Hotel & Convention Center in Mission Valley (June 25-28). It is being convened by NMFS and the National Sea Grant College Program.
Ray Conser reports that a proposal has been completed and submitted to NMFS Headquarters to fund research and development work on the stock assessment methods commonly used on the west coast. The primary long-term objective is to develop a collection of well-tested and well-documented software modules that can be incorporated into the NMFS Stock Assessment Toolbox. The proposed work is a cooperative effort among NMFS West Coast Labs with principal foci at the Honolulu, La Jolla, and Sand Point Labs.
Conser served as a reviewer on the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s stock assessment review panel for widow rockfish and lingcod in Santa Rosa,CA June 5-9th. Both stocks appear to be overfished (using the Council’s definition), and are likely to see further management restrictions consistent with stock rebuilding plans. From a stock assessment methods point of view, both stocks were assessed using innovative approaches and state-of-the-art computational methods. Software developed for these assessments may be a useful template for other SWFSC stock assessment efforts.
David Demer is finishing a manuscript on the quantification of total uncertainty (measurement and sampling) in acoustical surveys of Antarctic krill. The paper is to be tabled at CCAMLR's WG-EMM in Sicily during the latter two weeks of July.
Analysis of the multi-frequency acoustical data from the Spring CalCOFI cruise is underway. A technician, Jennifer Emery, has been contracted for the month of July to help expedite this analysis.
Demer has also begun advising Scott Allen, a graduate student from the University of New Hampshire, on a project involving the characterization of low-frequency sound generated from individual albacore tuna and their aggregations.
Demer is working to develop hardware and software to log and process multi-frequency data from commercial "fish-finders" to allow opportunistic acoustical observations from fishing vessels.
Dale Squires and Norm Bartoo will attend the HMS industry advisory subpanel meeting and the PFMC meeting next week in Portland, OR. Squires and state co-chair, Steve Crooke, will present a summary of the recent HMS PDT meeting in Astoria to the industry subpanel and the PFMC.
Squires and Donna Dealy have been preparing the sampling frame for the albacore cost-and-earnings survey. Squires has also been writing the final version of the survey proposal for the albacore and driftnet fisheries.
Susan Smith completed draft sections and submitted for Division approval two fish species sections (thresher shark and leopard shark) for the upcoming California status of stocks document "California Living Marine Resources and Their Utilization" being compiled by the State of California. The thresher shark section is being co-authored with Debbie Aseltine-Neilson (CDF&G).
Sue Smith completed a first draft of the manuscript "Biology and Ecology of Thresher Sharks: Famile Alopiidae" and sent copies out to in-house and outside reviewers. The ms. will be submitted for publication in "Sharks of the Open Ocean," (Pikitch and Camhi, eds.). She is also working on revisions of the essential fish habitat (EFH) designations and a new expanded species table for the draft HMS FMP. The next scheduled Highly Migratory Species FMP team meeting is scheduled for July 17-18 and will take place at the La Jolla Laboratory.
Dave Au has prepared and submitted a section on Pacific Coast shark fisheries (excluding rays and spiny dogfish) to Margo Schulze for inclusion in the Draft National Plan of Action -- Sharks.
Nancy Lo attended an egg and larvae workshop at Athlone, Ireland on June 14 -16. This workshop was organized by the Marine Institute (MI), Ireland under the NOAA and MI collaboration. Lo presented a talk on using adaptive sampling for egg and larval surveys off California. The purpose of this workshop was to prepare for an egg and larval survey off the west and south coast of Ireland in 2001 and over the longer term to identify oceanographic and biological features which can be used to understand the fluctuation of the recruitment of commercially important demersal species on the continental shelf of Ireland, namely cod, haddock, hake, whiting, and megrim. One of the objectives of the NOAA/MI collaboration was to develop a work plan for adapting the Georges Bank GLOBEC fisheries oceanography project to Irish waters. MI would also like to develop a long-term ichthyoplankton sea survey, possibly patterned after a CalCOFI sea survey. Other participants from the U.S. were Mike Fogarty and Greg Lough from NEFC, Woods Hole, Liz Clarke, Office of Science and Technology, William Pichel, Maryland, and Daniel Lynch, Dartmouth College.
The David Starr Jordan departed last Monday for the Shark/Juvenile Rockfish cruise with Dave Griffith, Dave Ambrose, Sherri Charter, Dave Holts, Rand Rasmussen, Darlene Ramon and Cindy Taylor from the center aboard. They will be doing shark longlining during the day and 10 meter MOCNESS during the night. On July 4 they will return to San Diego completing leg 1. After exchanging scientific personnel they will start leg 2 on July 5 and complete the cruise on July 16.
June 13, 2000
John Childers and Forrest Miller completed an administrative report entitled “Summary of the 1999 U.S. North and South Pacific albacore troll fisheries.” The report summarizes logbook, landings, and length-frequency data collected from the U.S. Pacific albacore troll fishery in 1999 and will be distributed to Western Fishboat Owner’s Association members who supply the data annually. The 1999 U.S. troll catch of North Pacific albacore was 11,200 metric tons (t), a decrease from the 14,000 t caught in 1998. The majority of the 1999 catch was from areas off California whereas the majority of the 1998 catch was off Oregon and Washington. The 1998-99 U.S. catch of South Pacific albacore was 1,200 t, a decrease from 1,800 t in 1997-98. Areas fished in the South Pacific were about the same in 1999 as in 1998. The catch-per-unit effort, in number of fish per day fished, for the North Pacific decreased significantly from 113 fish per day in 1998 to 40 fish per day in 1999. The catch-per-unit effort in the South Pacific increased from 53 fish per day in 1997-98 to 77 fish per day in 1998-99. Average size of fish in the North Pacific catch increased from 68 cm in 1998 to 73 cm in 1999 and, in the South Pacific, from 67 cm in the 1997-98 season to 70 cm in the 1998-99 season.
John Butler has completed a rebuilding plan for cowcod. The plan will be submitted to the SSC for review and presentation at the Pacific Council’s June meeting. Butler is working on the renewal of the squid contract with CDFG. Butler also submitted a purchase order for an ROV to investigate essential squid spawning habitat.
Russ Vetter reports that a long term-effort led by Larry Robertson to induce some nearshore rockfish species to spawn in captivity took another step forward. In the past we have had success bringing pregnant female rockfish into the lab and getting them to produce live young in captivity. This time, a grass rockfish, (Sebastes rastrelliger) that had been in captivity for more than one year became pregnant and produced larvae in captivity. To our knowledge this is the first time this species has successfully mated in captivity. Larvae have been collected for a genetic paternity analysis to prove that the female was fertilized by one of the males in the tank and not by stored sperm. Interest in rockfish aquaculture and stock supplementation is increasing as the depleted status of nearshore rockfish stocks is appreciated.
Chuck Oliver presented a talk at the recent Tuna Conference entitled "Can yellowfin tuna, Thunnus albacares, detect dolphins in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean?" based upon collaborative work with Kurt Schaefer (IATTC) and Jim Finneran (SPAWAR). The talk hypothesized that the acoustic environment in the offshore waters of the eastern tropical Pacific, coupled with acoustic abilities of both large yellowfin tuna and dolphins, provides the mechanism for the tuna/dolphin bond exploited by tuna purse-seine fishermen.
Over the last two weeks, David Demer was consumed by the CCAMLR 2000 Synoptic Survey data analysis workshop held by the Antarctic Division at the SWFSC. The main objective was to analyze acoustical survey data from four ships (U.K., Japan, Russia, and U.S.A.) to estimate the standing stock of (Euphausia superba) during January/February of 2000. Demer provided a three-frequency method for objectively delineating krill from other sound scatterers, wrote computer programs to read, convert, and reformat voluminous data from each ship and frequency, compute the transect mean densities, and conducted analyses to estimate the overall measurement and sampling uncertainty.
Shannon Cass-Calay will start her National Academy of Sciences National Research Council post-doctoral in the Fisheries Resources Division on July 15. She will begin her work with a study of the fine-scale distribution of food size particles in the Optical Particle Counter (OPC)/MOCNESS combination with growth rates of Pacific hake. This will be placed in the context of the cross-shelf distribution of Pacific hake larvae and OPC transects in connection with the standard CalCOFI surveys. Dr. Cass-Calay completed her doctoral study getting a PhD from Scripps Institution of Oceanography this week. Her advisor was biological/fisheries oceanographer Dr. David Checkley. She has also been a contract worker since December on the essential fish habitat project with Dr. Libby Loggerwell and Dr. Paul Smith.
Susan Smith attended the HMS Plan development team meeting in Astoria, Oregon, June 5-7. At the meeting she presented background material on life history and essential fish habitat designations for pelagic sharks covered in the plan, and handed out the draft document for review and comments.
Nancy Lo will attend an egg and larvae workshop at Athlone, Ireland on June 14 -16. This workshop was organized by the Marine Institute, University College Dublin, Ireland under a NOAA and Marine Institute collaboration. Lo will provide input on using adaptive sampling for egg and larval surveys in preparation for a survey for commercially important species off the west coast of Ireland in 2001.
May 31, 2000
On May 19, John Hunter and John Butler met with Miquel Cisneros (INP/Mexico City), Luis Lopez-Lemus (INP/CRIP/La Paz, B. C.) and Mario Ramada (Federation B.C.) to discuss cooperative white abalone research. White abalone which occur from Pt. Conception, California to Punta Abreojos, Baja California, are at critically low levels of abundance in California. Very little information exists about the status of white abalone in Baja California. The Instituto Nacional de Pesca has agreed to conduct a survey of white abalone along the coast of Baja during 2000 and to share the results with NMFS.
Paul Crone and Ron Dotson have completed the Albacore Tuna Outlook for 2000. The Pacific albacore stock is considered to be in good condition. Oceanographic conditions in 2000 are similar to those observed in 1999 as La Nina conditions continue to persist in the equatorial Pacific Ocean. Development of mid-North Pacific thermal frontal boundaries may slow some migrants as they move towards the U.S. west coast. Albacore have already shown up in southern California waters this year and albacore forage is abundant. Thus, we expect very good fishing off of California in 2000. Sea surface temperatures off the Pacific Northwest are somewhat warmer than in 1999, and albacore may arrive earlier this year and come nearer to shore than they did in this region during 1999.
Division staff interested in albacore research met with John La Grange,( AFRF) Director of the American Fishermen’s Research Founcation to discuss the practicality of implementing CASHM (continuous albacore school and habitat monitoring) and also finding boats to support the joint AFRF/NMFS observer program implemented this year. One feature of CASHM discussed at length was automatic logging of echosounder records from fishing boat transducers. This data would be processed to provide indices of albacore forage, as well as to provide records of deep schools of albacore. This information would be combined with continuous records of troll catch and other environmental data to provide high-resolution maps of schools ( some times referred to as the "body of fish") and their environment. The discussion yielded several practical approaches for implementing such a data logging system on fishing boats which shall be pursued by David Demer. Demer agreed to make a presentation at the next AFRF meeting.
Dave Holts and Michelle DeLaFuente chaired the 51st Tuna Conference in Late Arrowhead last week. Al Coan, John Childers, Paul Crone and Chuck Oliver attended from this division, as well as six from Honolulu and 16 from IATTC. Coan presented a poster titled, "The 1999 U.S. central-western Pacific tropical tuna purse seine fishery." The poster presents logbook, landing and length-frequency data collected from U.S. purse seiners fishing under the South Pacific Regional Tuna Treaty. The most significant development in the fishery is a change from fishing almost 70% of its purse seine sets on free-swimming schools of yellowfin and skipjack tunas in previous years, to fishing 90% of sets on yellowfin and skipjack tunas associated with drifting rafts in 1999.
Childers presented a poster titled "Summary of the 1999 North and South Pacific U.S. albacore troll fisheries." The poster presents logbook, landing and length-frequency data collected from U.S. troll vessels fishing in the North and South Pacific. The most significant development in these fisheries was a shift in the North Pacific fishery from areas off Oregon and Washington, in the last 10 years, to areas off California during 1999.
Doug Prescott and Al Coan summarized U.S. purse seine data on number of sets and positions, and catches of yellowfin and skipjack tunas inside the 200-mile limit of American Samoa. The data were transferred to the Raymond Clarke of the SWR Pacific Islands Area Office in Honolulu. The data will be supplied to the Western Pacific Council which is working on regulations to close American Samoan waters to protect artisanal fisheries.
Paul Smith met with Dale Squires, David Au and Yongil Jeon (Post doctoral student at Harvard) to discuss the time series of sardine recruitment from California and Japan and allied variables from the environment.
Paul Smith and Shannon Cass-Calay interviewed Ben Wu to help with the final work on the Essential Fish Habitat proposal this summer. Previous work has posted maps of sardine survivors on the Web as related to chlorophyll and temperature and three scientific papers with Dr. Elizabeth Logerwell as senior author. We plan to finalize the work with hake maps before Shannon becomes the NRC post-doctoral fellow for next year.
Christina Show has converted and migrated the sea survey data in Microsoft's Access database. The newly designed database contains temporal, spatial and depth information collected during the research cruises from 1966 - 1988. Major species identified include northern anchovies, squid, Pacific sardine, jack mackerel, Pacific hake, and Pacific saury. Length measurements and year-class information for various species are also included in the database. This database allows user to work with the data in many ways: select, filter, sort or join various relational information and summarize the data. The original purpose of the survey was directed toward determining the total pelagic and bathypelagic fisheries resources available in the California Current System, their abundance, distribution, and potential yield.
On May 12 Show attended The Nineteenth Annual Applied Statistics Workshop on 'Data Mining' held in Cal. State Long Beach campus. Attendees from La Jolla included Peter Perkins (PRD) and Cleridy Lennert ( IATTC). Data mining comprises techniques from computer science, machine learning and statistics. It explores and analyzes large data sets involving large numbers of variables by automatic or semiautomatic means with the purpose of discovering meaningful patterns that ordinary methods might miss. Data mining is being used in marketing, telecommunications, E-commerce and bioinformatics.
Sue Smith and Rand Rasmussen are nearing completion on essential habitat maps and descriptions for the common, pelagic and bigeye thresher sharks and the shortfin mako and blue sharks. Last week Smith began work on the EFH description for the white shark. Information on locations of major pinniped colonies within the U.S. West Coast EEZ were requested from Sarah Mesnick and Mark Lowry (PRD) to compare with white shark catch and attack record distributions, and drift net observer data.
John Hunter reports that the Sardine Symposium 2000 held last week at Sumner Auditorium at SIO was very well received; several staff from the SWFSC attended the 3-day symposium. The meeting was well attended by U.S. and Canadian Industry as well as U.S., Canadian, and Mexican fishery scientists. Two important actions suggested by the group were that industry contribute to the collection of information needed for coast-wide assessment of sardine and that an international forum for collaboration and information exchange on eastern Pacific sardine be established. We would like to thank all those who contributed to its success including Dimitry Abramenkoff, Diane Foster, Larry Robertson, Amy Hays, Roy Allen, Bev Macewicz, Matt Bones and Dave Ambrose.
May 16, 2000
Russ Vetter and NRC Fellow Vincent Buonaccorsi attended the 11th Western Groundfish Meeting in Sitka, Alaska and presented two papers on the genetics of rockfishes (Sebastes). Vetter's was on the coherence of phylogeny, biogeography, and adult, juvenile and larval characters. The major point was that the biology of rockfishes may be better served if they are considered as subgeneric groups that share life-history and demographic characteristics. Buonaccorsi's paper focused on the population genetic structure of various rockfish species along the open coast and in Puget Sound.
Nancy Lo was invited to participate in an egg and larval workshop in Ireland in June under the NOAA/Marine Institute project. She will be helping the Marine Institute of Ireland develop an adaptive sampling program for fish eggs and larvae larval survey off west coast of Ireland in 2001.
Sue Smith, working with Rand Rassmussen, completed a draft set of Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) maps and draft EFH description for the common thresher shark, Alopias vulpinus. The descriptions were faxed to HMS FMP Plan Development team member Michelle Robinson with the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife who is working with Smith on the EFH sections of the plan. Smith hopes to have draft EFH charts for the pelagic sharks completed for the next Plan Development Team meeting in Astoria, Oregon. There have been problems with the ArcView mapping program, so preparing these charts is taking longer than expected.
Shannon Calay has been selected by the National Academy of Sciences Research Council to be the new NOAA Post-Doctoral Fellow. She will be working on careful definition of micro- and meso- scale survivors' habitat for late larvae and juvenile planktivores such as hake, mackerel, sardines and anchovies. She will be working with data from the CalCOFI Optical plankton counter and acoustical surveys in the Fisheries Resources Division. Her collaborator will be Dr. Paul Smith. Her dissertation at Scripps Institution of Oceanography evaluated larval hake trophodynamics in relation to the two orders of magnitude fluctuation in spawning biomass specific reproductive success of the Pacific hake, Merluccius productus. Her advisor was Dr. David Checkley.
Preliminary results from the Continuous Underway Fish Egg Sampler (CUFES) collections on the April CalCOFI Cruise are very interesting. Northern anchovy (Engraulis mordax) spawning was observed throughout the southern California Bight in sea surface temperatures (SST) of 14-17 degrees C. This was a greater amount of spawning than has been observed with the CUFES in the past several years. Pacific sardine (Sardinops sagax) spawning once again appeared extensive as eggs were found on every transect from line 93 near the Mexican border northward to line 57 north of San Francisco, in SSTs of 13-16 degrees C. Once again, the sardine spawning occurred between the cooler upwelled coastal water and the eastern boundary of the California Current. Jack mackerel (Trachurus symmetricus) provided the biggest surprise. During previous cruises, the jack mackerel spawning has primarily been observed within the California Current, westward of the extent of the sardine spawning with very little overlap between the two species. This year the jack mackerel spawning extended from the California Current eastward into the region utilized by the sardines and extended from line 93 northwards to line 63 off San Francisco, in SSTs of 13-16 degrees C. Paul Smith commented that such extensive jack mackerel spawning has not been observed in CalCOFI since spring of 1951.
Last week, Dale Squires and David Au attended the meeting of the Pelagics Fishery Management Team of the Western Pacific Regional Fishery Management Council. They also visited the Honolulu lab. Their visit gave them considerable insights into the pelagic fishery there and the issues of the area. Chris Boggs, team chair, will attend the June meeting of the HMS Plan Development Team with the intention of fostering coordination between the two plans.
May 2, 2000
John Hunter, John Butler, and Tom Barnes (CDFG) attended the Sportfishing Association of California meeting in San Pedro on May 2. Butler gave a talk on the stock assessment of cowcod.
Last Wednesday, Dave Demer presented "Acoustical Surveys: Counting on the Strengths of Individuals" at the SIO Ecology Seminar. He revised proposals for a SWFSC Pacific Whiting Program and for an ONR/NATO survey in the Ligurian Sea this summer. Additionally, Demer is working on a three-frequency algorithm for delineating krill from other scatters, for in-situ target strength estimation of E. superba, and for quantifying uncertainty in acoustical estimates of Antarctic krill during the recently completed multi-national, multi-ship survey of the FAO statistical area 48.X. The latter efforts are for the CCAMLR synoptic survey analysis workshop to be held at SWFSC at the end of May.
Al Coan, Paul Crone and John Childers held the annual meeting of albacore port samplers at the La Jolla Laboratory on April 19. The purpose of the meeting was to review results and problems from port sampling of the 1999 U.S. troll fishery. In attendance were port sampling coordinators Wendy Beeghley-White, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife; Rhonda Haynes, Oregon Department of Fisheries; Marija Vojkovich - CDFG, and contract administrator Russell Porter, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. Highlights of the meeting were discussions on the first year of the High- Seas Fishing Compliance Act and its effects on sampling of logbooks, the shift in the 1999 albacore fishery to areas further south off California and its effects on landings and sampling coverage by port, the West Coast Highly Migratory (HMS) Species FMP and its effects on the fishery, and the 2000 U.S. albacore fishery and plans for sampling.
The David Starr Jordan returned to San Diego Saturday afternoon after completing the spring CalCOFI cruise. Using the Continuous Underway Fish Egg Sampler (CUFES) we found sardine eggs from San Diego to just north of San Francisco. We also noticed an increase in anchovy spawning at the southern end of the pattern.
The PFMC, HMS Plan Development Team met via video conference April 26. Team members and the public were able to participate from sites in La Jolla, Long Beach and Seattle, or from anywhere by phone. The team spent most of the meeting developing an outline for the FMP and making writing assignments. A first draft of the FMP is targeted for September-October. From those close to the Multi-lateral High Level Conference process, the team heard that the situation with regard to the inclusion/exclusion of North Pacific albacore in the agreement is far from settled, but a decision is due by August 2000. Dale Squires, Donna Dealy and Sam Herrick reported that the data necessary to design a sampling frame for the albacore cost-earnings survey have been compiled, and the survey questionnaire has been completed. Dave Au presented a preliminary draft on overfishing definitions and harvest control rules for HMS fisheries. Norm Bartoo presented a preliminary draft describing foreign fisheries for HMS, and Sam Herrick presented draft recommendations for addressing HMS, PacFIN data and landings data issues. The next Plan Development Team meeting is scheduled for June in Astoria, Oregon.
The Fisheries Resources Division hosted a visit from Dr. Rod Fujita of the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) on April 27th in La Jolla. Dr. Fujita presented the views and concerns of EDF and other environmental groups concerning the Pacific Fishery Management Council's FMP for HMS. Discussion with division scientists focused on stock assessment issues including data limitations, interaction with international organizations, and NMFS staffing in light of substantial workload increases that are likely to develop as the FMP comes online.
Dale Squires and Dave Au are in Honolulu, HI attending the Overfishing Definitions meeting for HMS planning this week.
Dr. Olav Sigurd Kjesbu (Institute of Marine Research, Bergen, Norway) is going to be working at the Center for the next 3 months on research with John Hunter on the reproduction and fecundity of fishes.
April 25, 2000
John Hunter participated in JIMAR meetings April 20 in Honolulu. Hunter, who is a Steering Committee member, reviewed the proposals and attended the panel review.
Dave Demer prepared a document including a proposal and requirements for the SWFSC to assume responsibility for the Pacific whiting surveys, conducted by the AFSC RACE Division. John Hunter and Demer met with Gary Stauffer, Bill Karp, Rich Marasco, and Chris Wilson in Seattle April 24 to define the resources necessary to expand the Advanced Survey Technology Program at SWFSC into a suitably equipped stock assessment program. Also discussed were details of a strategy for a collaborative AFSC/SWFSC transitionary survey in 2001.
Sam Herrick participated in the Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC), Coastal Pelagic Species Management Team meeting, April 20 in La Jolla. The Team once again addressed the issue of a maximum sustainable yield (MSY) for market squid. Marci Yaremko presented some initial results from an area-based approach to MSY that develops an MSY proxy by expanding average total catch during 1993-94 and 1996-97 to account for areas that are unfished (e.g. too far from port) and times of year when fishing is prohibited (weekend closures). This approach looks promising and the Team will recommend that the Council pursue further development. Market squid aceptable biological catch (ABC) and bycatch in Coastal Pelagic Species (CPS) fisheries were also revisited. Market squid ABC recommendations will follow from the MSY analysis. The extent of bycatch in CPS fisheries is relatively unknown. The Team felt that a trial observer program would probably best provide the necessary information. At the Council’s request, the Team examined CPS finfish limited entry permit transferability relative to transferability of California squid permits. While federal finfish permits are transferable until December 31, State squid permits are not. This prevents fishers holding both permits -- most vessels that have qualified for a federal CPS finfish permit also hold a State squid permit -- from upgrading to a new vessel intended for use in both fisheries. The Team looked at several options for harmonizing permits. The Team will meet again before the Council’s June meeting to develop recommendations on all these issues.
At the request of the CalCOFI Committee, Paul Smith attended the ecosystem monitoring workshop for the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. CalCOFI has an archive of about 1300 stations in and around the sanctuary from 1951-1999. The maximum extent of the sanctuary is about 150 nm. north and south centered on Monterey Bay and about 50 nm. offshore in places. Smith attended the Open Ocean sessions, facilitated by Dr. Marcia McNutt, CEO of MBARI. Smith will prepare a brief report to the CalCOFI Committee.
Nancy Lo has arranged interviews for possible internships for four college students (three from UCSD and one from SDSU) who are interested in projects of solving statistical problems. Paul Crone, Tim Gerrodette, and Lo met with the students.
Beverly Macewicz and Lo have been analyzing data of dry mantle weight per square millimeter of market squid collected from two research cruises in January 1998 (NMFS Jordan) and in December 1998 (CDF&G Mako). The results will be used to study if body condition changes with size, female reproductive states, and fecundity.
Dave Holts said that Bob Humphreys, Honolulu Laboratory, visited the La Jolla laboratory where he extracted otoliths from 25 swordfish heads collected by California drift net fishers.
April 18, 2000
John Hunter and John Butler will travel to Ensenada, Mexico on May 19 to meet with INP and Mexican abalone fishermen to discuss a joint U.S.-Mexico survey for white abalone in Mexican waters. NMFS has been petitioned to list the white abalone as an endangered species under the ESA and needs to know the abundance of the species throughout its range, which includes Baja California. At this point, abundance of white abalone in Mexican waters is unknown. Both INP and Mexican abalone fishermen are interested in participating in a joint survey.
Hunter, Ray Conser, and Al Coan attended the IATTC scientific working group meeting last week at the Radisson Hotel in La Jolla. The major focus of the meeting was the new A-SCALA stock assessment model applied to yellowfin and bigeye. The model, developed by Mark Maunder and George Watters, is a large, age-structured catch-at-length stock assessment model based on the MULTIFAN-CL model of Fournier. Although these models are still experimental at this point, they do not require production aging, which makes them very attractive, as does their synthetic capability.
David Demer attended the ICES working group on Fisheries Acoustics Science and Technology last week in Haarlem, Netherlands. One of the primary topics of discussion was the effect of animal behavior on acoustical stock assessments. The Advanced Survey Technologies Program contributed to this discussion with papers related to: survey bias due to diel vertical migration; significant changes in target strength due to animal orientation; and assessing avoidance reaction using three-dimensional acoustic Doppler measurements.
Sue Smith completed a draft example of the Life History and Essential Fish Habitat (EFH) section for common thresher shark for the HMS Plan Development Team. This is an example of an EFH species treatment, the format of which will be generally the same for each species covered in the EFH Plan, depending on available information. She continues working with Rand Rasmussen on the EFH maps. Last week she also met with Margarita De Jurado with the Ministerio de Agricultura y Ganaderia in El Salvador who are working with artisanal fisheries for Sphryna lewini and Carcharhinus limbatus.
Ron Lynn completed a descriptive analysis and accompanying figure of the sea surface temperature time series (1996 - 1999) of CalCOFI data for a line of stations off southern California. This description is a contribution to a comprehensive annual report of the state of the California Current System to be published in the CalCOFI Reports. The period analyzed include the complete El Nino cycle and well into the La Nina period.
Doug Prescott completed the April submission of the South Pacific Tuna Treaty data to the Forum Fisheries Agency. The data include landings, logbook and size and species composition information from U.S. purse seiners fishing in the central-western Pacific, collected during the period February 1, 2000 to April 1, 2000.
The CalCOFI cruise on the David Starr Jordan is proceeding on schedule. There are no major problems to report. They have found anchovy eggs on the inshore stations, sardine eggs slightly offshore and jack mackerel on the offshore stations.
David Au revised the manuscript with Smith and Show that was presented at Asilomar in February. So far two of the outside reviewers have returned comments. Au reviewed the Overfishing Definitions and Control Rules manuscript for the Western Pacific Council's pelagic fishery management plan.
The plans for the Tuna Conference are coming along swimmingly with 65 registered participants and 35 presentations.
April 11, 2000
- Ron Lynn reports that the quarterly report to CoastWatch Central was submitted last week. Report highlights are: The La Jolla CoastWatch website has recorded 1874 registered users since its inception, by far the busiest CW node in the country. In the last quarter there were on average more than 200 visits per day for the daily satellite pass and as many for the El Nino Watch issue. There were about 110 daily viewings of specific format images. Ray Slanina has added imagery from the newest POES satellite (NOAA 15) which doubles the number of images per day from 2 to 4. Dr. Marie Colton, the newly appointed Deputy Director of Office of Research and Applications, was given a personal tour of our CW facilities, her first look at the services and products provided by a CW node.
- Ray Conser attended a meeting of the PFMC’s SSC in Portland, OR (April 3-4). Ray was appointed to the SSC's Coastal Pelagics Species Sub-Committee and will continue to chair the SSC's Groundfish Sub-Committee during the coming year. The SSC primarily reviewed salmon and groundfish issues at this meeting. A review of the PFMC stock rebuilding plans is planned for the next SSC meeting in June.
- Nancy Lo visited Instituto de Fomento Pesquero, Valparaiso, Chile from March 18 - 29th. Lo provided guidance and statistical advice to the research team who are responsible for estimating the spawning biomass of anchovy off northern Chile for the year of 1999. While she was there she gave a seminar to the institute entitled "Evaluation and Perspective of Daily Egg Production." In 1999 the total catch of anchovy off Chile was 800,000 tons. The estimated spawning biomass was 900,000 tons (CV=0.3).
- Lo was an invited panel member on ‘What it’s like to be a Statistician’ for a statistical career day sponsored by the American Statistical Association’s San Diego Chapter and San Diego State University on April 8. She and Peter Perkins had an information booth about the SWFSC. More than 120 college students and high school students came to the career day. Many students expressed interest in pursuing an internship in statistics at our laboratory.
- For the upcoming June cruise, Christina Show and Nancy Lo provided the survey design for a maximum of 30 sets to sample thresher shark. The sampling design was based on the spatial and temporal density distributions of various thresher shark species from the observer data provided by Rand Rasmussen. Various statistics were calculated to compare shark densities among areas. Five strata were identified and the within-year variance and stratum area size were used to allocate sample sizes for each stratum. The logistics and practicality of the sampling during the cruise have been discussed in a group meeting, and comments from the participants were incorporated into the shark sampling design. Sample sites for each area were discussed further with the Cruise Leader, Dave Holts, and the final sample sites were allocated randomly within each stratum. Doug Prescott and Rich Cosgrove assisted with CGF block number assignment.
- John Butler has analyzed the age distribution of market squid in Southern California landings. The average age from hatching is 185 days with a range of 108 to 302 days. The age distribution is consistent with modes of landings in the fishery and with a life span of 6-8 months. This remarkably short life span is consistent with the rapid recovery of the resource after the 1997-98 El Nino.
- Chuck Oliver reviewed galley proofs for a paper by him and Kurt Schaefer (IATTC), which will appear in Fishery Bulletin: Schaefer, K.M. and C.W. Oliver. 2000. Shape, volume, and resonance frequency of the swimbladder of yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares). Fish. Bull. 98: 364-374. He also made final revisions to a contract report entitled "Measurements of the low-frequency components of active and passive sounds produced by dolphins", by Nachtigall et al., which will be submitted to Aquatic Mammals and reviewed research guidelines for "Tuna Technology" at the request of FAO. The technical guideline No. 2, "Precautionary Approach to Capture Fisheries and Species Introductions" is an aspect of FAO's Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.
- The David Starr Jordan left MARFAC on Thursday morning for the spring CalCOFI cruise. They got as far as Scripps pier when the emergency alarm system failed, so they anchored off the pier. The system contractor worked on the system Thursday but was unable to fix it. On Friday morning a specialist flew in from Sacramento and was able to repair the emergency alarm system. The cruise has been going smoothly since they left Friday afternoon.
- Paul Smith served for the first time on the California Sea Grant Committee and worked on most of the fisheries field proposals, some of the coastal project proposals, and the education proposal. The group will evaluate 34 proposals in August.
- Sue Smith continues to collect habitat information on pelagic sharks for the Highly Migratory Species draft FMP. Last week she plotted some sea surface temperature and catch data from the gillnet observer data base.
- A relay team of coworkers and family members from the SWFSC and CDF&G walked 24 hours April 7th (starting at 7:00pm) to April 8th at Point Loma Nazarene University to raise funds for the American Cancer Society. Our relay team called Friends of Tentacles & Fins included: Dimitry Abramenkoff, Elaine Acuna, Sherri Charter, Diane Foster, Erin Hubbard, Eric Lynn, and Bev Macewicz (SWFSC participants); Kathy Cook (wife of Steve Cook, OAR); and Annette Henry, her mother, Beryl Farmer, Marci Yaremko, and her mother Carol Yaremko (representing CDF&G). Roy Allen(SWFSC) provided fish decorations for our tent. Bev Macewicz formed the team in memory of four co-workers: Reuben Lasker, Jackie Jennings, Rick Punsly, and Julie Shoemaker. A big THANK YOU to all who sponsored us: our families, friends, and coworkers from CDF&G, IATTC, and SWFSC! We raised $1262 for the American Cancer Society.
April 4, 2000
John Hunter and Paul Crone attended the spring Directors’ Meeting of the American Fishermen’s Research Foundation (AFRF) that was held in Reno, NV from March 29-31, 2000. The AFRF is a non-profit organization that was established by the North Pacific albacore fishing industry to promote and support scientific research and education regarding Pacific albacore. At this meeting, the AFRF Board of Directors approved a research proposal submitted by the SWFSC to enhance current monitoring programs of North Pacific albacore harvested by the U.S. trolling fleet. The research will involve collaborative work between the fleet and the SWFSC, and is expected to generate information that can be used to: (1) develop accurate time series of size/age distributions of the exploited stock(s) for inclusion in assessment models; (2) critically examine spatial/temporal details concerning the dynamics of the stock(s) that are at this time poorly understood; and, (3) begin preliminary efforts to generally define the total harvest generated by the troll fishery, including the catches of targeted and incidental fish species. It is expected that this work will be completed by early fall 2000 and ultimately produce results that will be utilized in next year’s Pacific albacore stock assessment.
David Demer was recently awarded the position of Associate Researcher at the Marine Physical Laboratory. In collaboration with Scripps, he is currently directing Alex Curtis in a project involving a 120 kHz side-looking echo to study the dispersion and abundance of epi-pelagic fish in conjunction with CUFES egg pump surveys. He trained Alex to install and setup an EY500 echosounder, logging computer, and split-beam transducer for an upcoming cruise aboard R/V Sproul. The equipment is generously being loaned by the U.S. AMLR Program.
Demer is also preparing the Simrad EK500 echosounder and logging system for multi-frequency acoustical surveying during the spring CalCOFI cruise. He has upgraded the echosounder firmware to allow identical transmitted pulse durations (1.0 ms) at 38, 120, and 200 kHz. As all three transducers have seven degree beamwidths, the synchronized pulses at the three frequencies will have the same ensonified volumes. Thus, the volume backscattering strengths are to be used for inverting a model for scatterer sizes. These data are to be analyzed in conjunction with the egg-pump data. The data logging equipment and processing software is generously being loaned by the U.S. AMLR Program.
Demer is also preparing a proposal to collaborate with the AFSC on the 2001 Pacific whiting survey using the R/V David Starr Jordan and its EK500 echosounder.
Last week, Dale Squires attended a meeting at the SWR for HMS with attendees from Washington, D.C., Hawaii, and La Jolla. The purpose of the two-day meeting was to discuss and compare features of the Western Pacific and Atlantic FMPs and the nascent Pacific FMP, approaches to overfishing, and general HMS considerations. This week, Squires will attend bycatch meetings of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission. The Pacific HMS FMP will tackle bycatch and also interface with the ETP tuna fisheries.
Ray Conser served on a peer review panel at the Groundfish Harvest Rate Policy Review Workshop in Seattle, March 20-24. The workshop was organized by the PFMC Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) of the Pacific Fisheries Management Council (PFMC) to evaluate the PFMC's harvest rate policy. Evidence has been accumulating over the past few years indicating that current PFMC management practices for groundfish may have inadvertently resulted in fishing mortality rates well in excess of the F associated with maximum sustainable yield. The review panel examined recent work on the issue and prepared a report concluding that the PFMC needs to reduce F's in order to achieve the objectives of the Groundfish FMP. The Panel's report will be presented to the full SSC on April 3, and to the PFMC on April 5.
Sue Smith completed a review of an EPA manuscript on harvest of long-lived marine species and is preparing for the next data-input phase of the thresher shark food study. Rand Rasmussen has set up a work station for contractor Antonella Preti to begin inputting data on thresher gut contents, the processing of which should be completed in a few weeks.
Richard Charter reports that Dave Griffith, Ron Dotson and Amy Hays are preparing for the spring CalCOFI cruise on the RV David Starr Jordan. The sailing date has been delayed by two days until April 5 due to delays in completing winter maintenance repairs. The cruise will go from San Diego to Cape Mendocino, and will last 26 days.
March 20, 2000
- A conference on Pacific climate variability and marine ecosystem impacts from the Tropics to the Arctic titled ‘Beyond El Nino’ was held at the Price Center on the UCSD campus March 23-26. The Conference was organized by the North Pacific Marine Science Organization with the participation of the IATTC, the International Pacific Halibut Comission , the North Pacific Anadromous Fish Commission and the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research .
The conference was well attended by SWFSC researchers. Paul Smith assisted the event as a member of the local organizing committee. Smith gave a verbal presentation (co-author Geoff Moser): The Effects of Basin-wide Climatic Shifts on four California Current Recurrent Groups of Fish Larvae. Elizabeth Loggerwell gave a verbal presentation (co-author with Smith): Survivors’ Habitat of California Current Fish: Are Mesoscale Oceanographic Features Areas of Exceptional Prerecruit Production? Smith and Moser presented a poster: Dynamic positioning of four Larval Fish Assemblages and NEP Climate. Ron Lynn presented a poster: Sardine Spawning Habitat Response to El Nino and La Nina Changes in Zooplankton Abundance.
- Russ Vetter reports that Eric Lynn, Carol Kimbrell, and Vince Buonaccorsi (NRC Fellow) have been working overtime to complete a population genetics analysis of copper rockfish, Sebastes caurinus, for a series of upcoming scientific meetings, including the Western Groundfish Conference. The study extends from the Queen Charlotte Islands in Canada down to Southern California. Copper rockfish from Puget Sound have been proposed as an endangered population worthy of protected species status based on the possibility that the Puget Sound stocks are depleted and genetically distinct. Our analysis seems to confirm the contention that Puget Sound stocks are distinct. The conditions that have led to this isolation are not known at this time.
- Members of the FRD participated in a multi-presentation seminar for the Mt. Carmel High School Ocean Sciences Academic Team held March 20th at the SWFSC. This was to help prepare the Team for an upcoming National Ocean Sciences Bowl competition in Washington, D.C. Last year’s MCHS Ocean Sciences Academic Team finished second in the national competition, and according to Coach Harold Dorr, benefitted tremendously from a similar seminar given by the FRD.
This year Ron Lynn discussed physical oceanography features in the world’s oceans: how they are formed and how they effect fisheries. Ron challenged the Team to interpret various oceanographic charts in terms of current structure, temperature and salinity isopleths, color fronts and upwelling zones. John Butler discussed conservation and management of the cowcod rockfish. He questioned the Team as to why this species might be particularly vulnerable to overfishing in view of its biological characteristics, i.e. productivity. Paul Smith discussed recruitment in fisheries and how recruitment is influenced by biological and physical factors. Paul’s presentation instilled in the Team a better sense of compensatory mechanisms affecting recruitment. Sam Herrick presented a bioeconomic analysis of an open-access fishery. He quizzed the Team as to why an unregulated, open-access commercial fishery would reach a long-term equilibrium characterized by both economic and biological overfishing, and what management actions might be imposed to avoid this problem. Geoff Moser talked about biogeography. From Geoff’s presentation the Team gained a better understanding of the early life history of fishes and factors affecting their distribution and recruitment. The Team demonstrated an extraordinary level of knowledge in responding to questions raised during the seminar, and was extremely grateful for the FRD scientists willingness to help them prepare for this year’s competition.
- David Au, Norm Bartoo, Sam Herrick, Dale Squires, and Sue Smith attended the Pacific Council’s Plan Development Team meeting on the Fishery Management Plan for Highly Migratory Species in Seattle, WA. March 13-14. Au reported on progress by the Western Pacific Council’s team working on essentially similar species for their FMP. He reviewed for the team the Magnuson-Stevens and NMFS Technical Guideline requirements for assessments and control rules for listed species.
Au reviewed the draft prepared by the Western Pacific team on assessment and control rules for Pacific Basin pelagic species. This was prepared by Boggs et al. Au discussed with Sue Smith a method for assessing mako and thresher sharks for the FMP, based on estimating adult stock to recruit ratios and on rebound rates. Au revised the manuscript presented at the Monterey Shark Symposium, coauthored with Smith and Show.
- Susan Smith completed a reviewer’s draft of the manuscript "Review of shark intrinsic rates of increase with emphasis on pelagic sharks, " by S. Smith, D. Au and C. Show. It is to be submitted for inclusion in the volume "Sharks of the Open Ocean" to be published by Blackwell Scientific. The manuscript was sent out to reviewers on both U.S. coasts, New Zealand and the U.K. This is the manuscript version of the talk given at the February Pelagic Shark Workshop at Asilomar, CA.
- Smith reports that she has also been working with Rand Rasmussen on developing essential fish habitat charts for sharks for the HMS Plan Development Team. There have been problems trying to resolve some inconsistencies in estimates of age/size at maturity and maximum size of shortfin mako sharks.
- John Hunter and Paul Crone are traveling to Reno, NV to attend the American Fishermen’s Research Foundation (AFRF) and the Western Fishboat Owners Association (WFOA) meetings that are going to be held March 30-31.
- Nancy Lo has been in Valparaiso, Chile (March 12-26) to perform data analysis using daily egg production methods to estimate anchovy biomass off Chile.
- John Butler and Ray Conser are in Seattle, WA attending the National Stock Assessment Workshop (NSAW).
March 7, 2000
Geoff Moser and Richard Charter report the completion of five data reports on Manta (surface) net tows taken on the Eastern Tropical Pacific dolphin surveys during 1987 to 1992. This was a cooperative project with Steve Reilly and the survey staff of the Marine Mammal Division. These reports provide ichthyoplankton, juvenile/adult fish, and associated station and tow data for the five surveys. The data are presented in six tables, and distributions of the 20 most frequently occurring larval fish taxa are shown in a series of figures. The background, methodology, and necessary interpretive information are given in accompanying text. The reports will be published in the NMFS Southwest Fisheries Science Center Technical Memoranda series.
Al Coan has finished a paper entitled, "The 1999 U.S. central-western Pacific tropical tuna purse seine fishery." The paper is a joint effort with coauthors from NMFS (Gary Sakagawa, Doug Prescott and Gordon Yamasaki), the Secretariat of the South Pacific Community (Peter Williams) and the Forum Fisheries Agency (Karl Staish). The paper will be presented by Gary Sakagawa at the annual South Pacific Tuna Treaty meeting in Niue, March 3-10, 2000.
Two significant differences occurred in the 1999 U.S. fishery, as compared to previous years; 1) the fleet made a significant switch from fishing mainly free-swimming schools sets to fishing over 96% of its sets on floating objects, 94% of which were Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs), and 2) the fleet landed significant portions of its catch in foreign ports. The switch to FAD fishing has lead to record high CPUEs of 38.3 t/day fished, record high bigeye tuna catch of over 16,600 t, record low trip lengths of 41.5 days per trip and record low number of sets per trip of 21. While the 1999, U.S. fleet catch of 182,000 t of skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tunas was only 4% higher than last year’s catch, higher catches would have been recorded had portions of the fleet not "tied up" to protest long unloading times and low prices in the last half of the year from canneries in American Samoa. The problems encountered in American Samoa caused fishermen to unload 22% of the catch in the Philippines, Fiji and the Solomon Islands.
Sam Herrick and Dale Squires hosted the NMFS Economics and Social Science Conference held at the Martin Johnson House on the SIO Campus, 2/22 - 2/24/00. The Conference brought together 45 NMFS economists and social scientists from throughout the country to discuss a number of issues dealing with mandates for social science analyses in the MSFMCA and the attendant data needs, as well as presentations on the latest methods and models useful in carrying out these mandates.
Particular attention was given to data needs and analyses under National Standard 8, Communities, which requires that management actions take into account the importance of fishery resources to fishing communities in order to provide for the sustained participation of such communities and minimize adverse economic impacts on such communities. To this end there were a number of presentations on the application of the IMPLAN (Impact Analysis For Planning) regional input-output model to evaluate the economic impacts of proposed management options. In this context economic impacts refer to changes in economic activity, employment and income within fishing communities as a result of management changes. National Standard 8 responds to a general lack of detailed community impact analysis in most existing fishery management plans.
There was also much interest in progress towards completing guidelines and a practitioner’s manual for regulatory analysis of fishery management actions. This effort focuses on the requisite analyses to meet Regulatory Impact Review (RIR) and Regulatory Flexibility Analysis (RFA) requirements. This is a high priority within NMFS because recently there has been a lot of court activity and legal challenges dealing with the adequacy of RFAs in fishery management plans and plan amendments. The substance of a RIR is a benefit-cost analysis that measures changes in net national benefits, while a RFA is concerned with the financial impacts on small businesses of proposed actions.
Dale Squires, along with co-chair Steve Crooke, will attend the HMS Advisory Panel meeting and report on HMS Plan Development Team activities to the Pacific Fishery Management Council meeting in Sacramento on Wednesday and Thursday this week.
Last week Jennie Hoffman, a graduate student from the University of Washington, spent four days working with Eric Lynn in the Genetics & Physiology laboratory learning the immunoflouorescent technique for detecting UV-induced DNA damage. Jennie plans to quantify UV damage in sea urchin and snail embryos and larvae as part of her graduate research project.
February 29, 2000
Donna Dealy, Sam Herrick, and Dale Squires attended the National Economists meeting last week. Herrick very ably served as local host, making all arrangements. Dealy, Herrick, and Squires were very interested in the presentations and discussions on sample design and cost-and-earnings surveys since they are in the process of preparing a survey of the albacore fleet as part of the HMS FMP process. Squires made a presentation on the economics of quotas, ITQs, and capacity.
The combined effort of Geoff Moser's and Richard Charter's groups over the past several years has produced 14 data reports, published as NOAA Technical Memoranda, that list ichthyoplankton, station, and tow data for the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) biological-oceanographic survey cruises for the years 1985 through 1998. Senior authors of these reports were David Ambrose, Sharon Charter, Elaine Acuna, and William Watson, who identified the samples after they were sorted by Lucy Dunn and Jeanne Haddox. The work of Susan Jacobson, Susan Manion and Amy Hays was critical to the development of the data base and Dimitry Abramenkoff and Amy Hays were responsible for obtaining plankton volumes. Collection of the samples at sea during this period was accomplished through the outstanding efforts of David Griffith, Ronald Dotson, and Amy Hays.
These 14 reports include 56 cruises and approximately 3,700 stations. The data are presented in four tables and an accompanying text gives the background, summaries of gear and methods, and explanations necessary for the use of the data. These data reports are a continuation of a series of 24 Technical Memoranda, covering CalCOFI surveys from 1951–1984. The data report series and associated CalCOFI atlases aid in the use and interpretation of the CalCOFI ichthyoplankton time series. We are in the process of updating the on-line system for accessing the CalCOFI computer data base, originally developed by Dr. Roger Hewitt, and producing a web site version that will make the data base available through the Internet.
David Demer is back in the lab following his seven-week involvement in the CCAMLR 2000 Synoptic Survey of the Scotia Sea, from Livingston Island in the southwest to South Georgia Island in the northeast. The Antarctic Ecosystems Research Group was supported in the areas of active acoustical surveys, oceanography (CTD, rosette, thermosalinograph and salinity checks), the Scientific Computer System (SCS), and other electronics instrumentation.
During the cruise, Dale Roberts adeptly assisted with the acoustical surveys, thus providing a member of the Tiburon lab with on-the-job training and hands-on experience with AERG's acoustical equipment and survey methods. The arrangement was mutually beneficial.
Additionally, for the first time, a small-boat was modified and a multi-disciplinary survey was conducted to measure the coastal-prey and habitat within the foraging ranges of seals and penguins being monitored via satellite tags at Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island, Antarctica. A 19-foot Zodiac Mark V was fitted with two engines; an aluminum house with remote steering station and wind-break; Simrad EY500 split-beam 120 kHz echosounder with control/data logging computer; motorized down-rigger for deployment of an SBE19 SeaCat CTD and a digital underwater video and lighting system; three GPSs; two VHF radios; a WeatherPak; radar; Scientific Computer System for continuous data logging and display; batteries for up to 20 hours of continuous survey operations; an alternator and backup generator for power restoration; compass; binoculars; and survival equipment including a 406 MHZ EPIRB and fully stocked emergency kit (survival suits, camping gear, food, desalinator, etc.). The proof-of-concept vessel worked well in the harsh Southern Ocean environment; the seven-day survey acoustically mapped and visually identified (underwater video) large near-shore krill swarms available to the land-based predators but unobservable by the large survey vessel. Other coastal habitat and stock assessment surveys may benefit from such low-cost-per-datum habitat mapping and stock assessment platforms.
Demer is now analyzing data from the Antarctic Field season (acoustical, CTD, and SCS data from the CCAMLR synoptic and coastal surveys) in preparation for the multi-national analysis workshop to be held at SWFSC in May/June; preparing to add acoustical surveys to the April CalCOFI surveys aboard R/V David Starr Jordan for the Fisheries Resources Division; collaborating with Rusty Brainard of the Honolulu Lab on a proposal for FY2002 habitat mapping budget initiative for the Sustain Healthy Coasts team; writing a proposal for ONR's and SACLANT Center's collaborative Sound, Oceanography, and Living Marine Resources Program (SOLMR) in the Ligurian Sea; and preparing a presentation for ICES Working Group on Fisheries Acoustical Science and Technology meeting in Ijmuiden, Netherlands in early April.
Sue Smith reports that she presented a paper that was well received at the International Shark Pelagic Workshop in Monterey, CA on February 15. The talk was entitled "Shark intrinsic rates of increase with emphasis on pelagic sharks," by Susan Smith, David Au and Christina Show. This work is part of a continuing investigation and refinement of a density-dependent demographic method developed at the SWFSC in 1997 to measure the intrinsic rates of increase (r) of various shark species under a uniform harvest condition (Zmsy). The resulting rates, called rebound rates, measure the rebound potentials of various elasmobranch species and allow for comparison among species--a feature not possible using other methods. These rebound rates can also be used to calculate certain biological reference points and incorporated into stock assessment analyses. Resulting rates ranged from a high of 0.06-0.10 per year for pelagic stingray to lows of 0.01-0.02 for the basking shark and .02-.03 for the bigeye thresher. Most other pelagics fell within the mid-range of values with a potential population growth rate of between .04-.07 per year. These results can be directly applied to NMFS stock assessments of HMS sharks now underway (PFMC/WPFMC/FAO) and in refining past analyses.
David Au also presented a well received paper entitled "Shark rebound potentials and reproductive protection for ensuring population viability" coauthored with Sue Smith and Christina Show at the International Pelagic Shark Workshop which was hosted by the Ocean Wildlife Campaign of Islip, New York. Murdoch McAllister wants to do joint work with us using our method in conjunction with his Baysian techniques to handle the assessments-with-little-data problem.
On January 28th Dave Au, Jim Squire, Dave Holts, and Dale Squires met with representatives from hotel and sportfishing interests in La Paz, Mexico to discuss their cooperation in billfish studies. Guillermo Alvarez (La Paz Sportfishing Association) represented La Paz Anglers; Luis Bulnes Molleda (President of the Mexican Billfish Foundation) and his son, both represented resort owners in La Paz; and Richard Schwartzlose (retired from SIO) acted in an advisory capacity. Alvarez has concern that commercial long-lining off Baja California that will likely affect the sport angler catch rates of that area. Alvarez’s interest stems from a paper Jim Squire and Au once wrote noting that local concentrations of fish should be managed even if constituting only a small portion of the total stock (i.e. "core area management"). Alvarez and his associates are very anxious to do something with the SWFSC to demonstrate the biological and economic importance of their sport fishing industry in competition with any developing commercial fishery on the same species.
- <p align="justify">Chuck Oliver continues efforts at preparing a new web presence for FRD, the latest version available for SWFSC staff at http://calamari.ucsd.edu/frdb/default.htm. Contact him for copies of the following reprints:
Zorn, H.M., J.H. Churnside, and C.W. Oliver. 1998. Laser safety thresholds for cetaceans and pinnipeds. Mar. Mamm. Sci., 16(1): 186-202.
Finneran, J.J., C.W. Oliver, K.M. Schaefer, and S.H. Ridgway. 1999. Source levels and estimated yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) detection ranges for dolphin jaw pops, breaches, and tail slaps. J. Acoust. Soc. Am. 107(1): 649-656.
February 23, 2000
John Hunter co-chaired a GLOBEC/SPACC Workshop on the Continuous, Underway Fish Egg Sampler (CUFES) that was held from February 9-11, 2000 in Donostia-San Sebastian, Spain. The workshop was hosted by the Technological Institute for Fisheries and Food (AZTI) and was held at the San Sebastian Aquarium. The objective of the workshop was to assess the present status of CUFES in comparative studies of spawning habitats and egg production of small pelagic fishes, and to recommend future actions for the further development of this novel methodology. The workshop was attended by 32 people from 11 countries, including scientists from government institutions and universities, and representatives of oceanographic instrument manufacturers. Presentations on current applications of CUFES were given by scientists working in Chile, France, Peru, Mexico, South Africa, Spain and the USA, and those concerning future applications of CUFES were made for Argentina, the European Community, and Japan. A workshop report including extended abstracts, summaries of the discussions, and recommendations arising will be published in the GLOBEC Report Series.
Ron Lynn reported that the project to investigate the vertical thermal structure of the gillnet fishery habitat has produced initial results. Vertical structure of the water column is an important descriptor of fishing habitat and particularly important information in evaluating gill net fishing results. This project provided temperature-depth recorder (TDR) units and computer notebook systems to SWR staff for assignment to trained observers in the Drift Gillnet Observer Program. TDR casts were made prior to and following the setting of the net. A total of 25 casts were made during six trips. Ron Dotson created plots for each temperature profile. Temperature structure is being examined for mixed layer depth, thermocline depth and strength, and complexities including inversions, multiple layers and clines. Large differences between the beginning and end of set profiles revealed when the set was successfully made across an ocean front. The number of observer trips was very low this year because of greatly reduced fishing effort. Anomalously low sea surface temperatures during the fishing season caused locally low catch rates and a shift in fish population centers to south of the international border. This important information will allow assessment of the impact of marine climate variations upon fishing performance and improve stock assessments. In making use of the existing observer program valuable information is obtained at minimal effort and cost.
Drs. Nancy C-h Lo, John Butler, and Paul Smith traveled to Ensenada, Mexico to CICESE to hold the final defense of thesis for two PhD students in Oceanography/Ecology departments. Yanira Green-Ruiz discovered the invasion of anchovy, by identifying their larvae, into the Gulf of California and chose this topic for her thesis. Eva Cotero-Altamirano chose the task of describing the adult reproductive parameters in this new metapopulation. Jointly, they determined the spawning biomass of this metapopulation and the projected rate of population growth. Drs. Lo & Smith were on both committees and Dr. Smith chaired the committee of Dra. Yanira Green-Ruiz. Dr. Butler was the chairman of the committee for Dra. Eva Cotero Altamirano.
Dave Holts, Susan Smith, and Darlene Ramon received the final shipment of specimens collected from SWR observers on California drift net vessels. The specimens included: swordfish, striped marlin, blue marlin, shortfin mako shark, common thresher shark, bigeye thresher shark, blue shark, salmon shark, prickly shark and common mola.
The national economists meeting is being held at SIO this week with break out rooms here at the Center.
February 15, 2000
- John Hunter is on invitation travel in San Sebastian, Spain to Chair a GLOBEC/SPACC workshop on Continuous Underway Fish Egg Sampler (CUFES); he left on February 7th and returns on February 22nd.
- Michael Maxwell, John Hunter, and John Largier (Scripps Institution of Oceanography) completed submission of a proposal examining essential spawning habitat of market squid. The proposal was submitted to the National Sea Grant Office in response to a request for proposals on essential fish habitat.
- Ron Lynn and Ken Bliss are continuing to analyze the effectiveness of the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) backscatter as an index of secondary production in the California Current and as a descriptor of its distribution. The relationship of backscatter to zooplankton biomass volume for Jordan surveys is being examined for all seasons for the years 1996 - 99. Although some surveys show considerable scatter, the centroid of relationship appears to remains unchanged. This finding suggests that the calibration of the ADCP is stable. Bliss will continue this study with New Horizon surveys. Lynn finds that diel vertical migration is a major factor in zooplankton distribution except during spring months. This has implications for understanding spawning habitat as well as larval survival during this period.
- Ray Slanina has added imagery from the newest satellite in the NOAA series (15) as a standard product to the CoastWatch web page. Along with NOAA 14 series imagery this addition provides three to five overpasses per day. Because of the precession of satellite orbits some passes fail to cover many areas of interest, thus doubling the number of passes greatly increases the prospects that a particular area of interest is scanned.
- Ray Conser participated in the Multifan-CL Workshop in Honolulu, February 1-3. The Workshop, organized by the SPC Subcommittee on Tuna and Billfish (SCTB), provided a forum for tuna assessment scientists to discuss progress on the Multifan-CL model development, and to generally become more familiar with the details of model structure, assumptions, and performance. The Workshop was not structured to provide a critical review of the model.
- SPC staff have been developing the model for application to yellowfin and bigeye tuna stock assessments in the western and central Pacific. More recently, IATTC staff have independently developed a similar model for bigeye stock assessment in the eastern Pacific.
- Paul Crone has concentrated on gaining a working knowledge of the historical and current Pacific albacore fisheries, including delving into literature and meeting with staff here at the Center–i.e., he will be the principal investigator for much of the albacore-related research in the upcoming years (e.g., developing research projects, conducting assessments, consulting with peers, industry, and the public, etc.). He participated in the Highly Migratory Species-Fishery Management Plan (HMS-FMP) Planning Team Meeting held in Pacific Grove, CA from January 31-February 2, 2000; and the American Fishermen’s Research Foundation Annual Board Meeting held on February 3, 2000.
- At the PFMC, Highly Migratory Species Plan Development Team meeting, 1/31-2/2/00, in Pacific Grove, California, Team member Sam Herrick presented an analysis of gear types accounting for Highly Migratory Species landings over the 1981-98 period. According to the PacFIN Management Data Base, fishermen landed an estimated 831,665 mt of HMS in west coast ports during the 1981-98 period. HMS were harvested using more than 70 different gear types in target and non-target fisheries. Purse seine gear accounted for the largest amount of landings by a single gear type for the period, 574,993 mt (69%), while paranzella gear accounted for the least amount, 0.01 mt (less than .00001%). The Team is faced with identifying those gears that can be classified as HMS gears, which in conjunction with particular HMS and other operational attributes (e.g. time or area), define HMS fisheries.
In terms of species and gears, albacore troll, swordfish and shark drift gill net and tropical tuna purse seine were the predominant HMS fisheries occurring off the west coast during 1981-98. A number of other gears also landed HMS species, but these landings represent incidental catch in non-HMS fisheries. Nonetheless, a closer look at landings by these gears is warranted to identify target species, and to see if they are harvesting substantial quantities of HMS that are not landed. If they incur a substantial amount of HMS bycatch, it may be a significant contribution to total fishing mortality for HMS species. Likewise, once HMS fisheries are defined species that constitute incidental and bycatch in these fisheries can be better assessed.
- This week (Feb 14-17) Dave Au, Dave Holts and Sue Smith will be attending and presenting papers at the International Shark Conference in Asilomar, California.
- Sue Smith, Dave Au and Dave Holts recently reviewed the NMFS' draft National Plan of Action (NPOA) for sharks. The NPOA is being developed by NMFS to fulfill our national responsibility in support of the International Plan of Action for the Conservation and Management of Sharks endorsed by FAO in 1999. Action items include completion of assessments for elasmobranchs in two years which include: catch by species, size, and gear; fishery-independent data on shark abundance and productivity; fishing fleet data; fishing effort data; delineation of summer and winter, nursery, mating and feeding habitats; utilization and trade; estimates of sustainable levels of fishing mortality; and criteria and recommendations for elasmobranch management measures.
- Doug Prescott completed the bi-monthly submission of South Pacific Tuna Treaty data to the Forum Fisheries Agency. The data include logbook, landing, size and species composition information, for U.S. purse seiners fishing in the central-western Pacific, processed between December 1, 1999 and February 1, 2000.
- One of two thresher shark satellite transmitters scheduled to "pop-off" in mid January reported right on time. The other, like the mars lander, has not reported. It is now overdue by a month. The one, reported from 18°30'N 117°35'W or approximately 200 west of Clarion Island; nearly 1000 nmi SSE from its southern California tagging location. Average ambient water temperatures over the 210 days at liberty were received through the ARGOS satellite. To date, 5 of 6 transmitters placed on thresher sharks last July have reported as scheduled. Location and mean temperature data were received from all five. Two additional transmitters are scheduled to report in April 2000.
- On February 10th Dave Griffith went to San Pedro Boatyard to advise PMC on the interior lab modifications on the David Starr Jordan. If anyone has any questions or concerns about the lab modifications they should contact Dave Griffith.
- Russ Vetter is preparing an invited talk on the population genetics of near-shore rockfishes for a symposium on Nearshore Fishery Issues Entering the New Millennium at the AFS, California-Nevada Chapter Annual Meeting.
January 19, 2000
- Sue Smith is revising draft write-ups on highly migratory species (HMS) shark species for the HMS FMP plan development team, which will meet again in Pacific Grove, CA at the end of the month. She also has been working with Christina Show and Henry Orr on a presentation on the productivity of pelagic sharks for the February 2000 International Shark Workshop in Monterey. Intrinsic rates of increase will be presented for common, bigeye and pelagic thresher, blue shark, shortfin mako, porbeagle (Southwest Pacific and North Atlantic stocks), salmon shark, oceanic whitetip, silky shark, basking shark and pelagic stingray. She has been corresponding with various authors to obtain the most current parameters.
- Ray Conser has reported permanently to the SWFSC as of today; he transferred from the NWFSC in Newport, OR. Ray is the supervisor for the Stock Assessment & Fishery Monitoring Group in the Fisheries Division (which is the largest task in the FRD).
- Russ Vetter attended the first joint meeting of the working group and the scientific advisory panel for establishing large no-take reserves within the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. The charge of the group is to advise on establishment of notable reserves for the Channel Islands, which is part of the re-authorization for Channel Island Sanctuary and also functions as a model of the process required by new state legislation. This process is the first of its kind and includes commercial and sport fishing interests along with conservation groups and state and federal officials. It is clear to all involved that this process, together with the new state mandate, represents a major sea change (for better or worse) in the way some fisheries will be managed in the future.
- On Friday January 7th the New Horizon departed on the winter CalCOFI cruise with Ron Dotson and Amy Hays aboard. They had to return to San Diego for 4 hours on Jan 14 to make repairs to the egg pump stand, optical particle counter and to exchange sick personnel. Dave Griffith got aboard for the remainder of the cruise which is until January 29th. The water temperatures seem to be 1 to 2 degrees below normal with zooplankton and egg counts being low.
- Nancy Lo finished the tow allocation for the upcoming CDF&G squid survey from Jan 31 - Feb 26th. The survey area is from longitude 117degrees to121 degrees and latitude 32.5 degrees to 34.5 degrees. Our planned sample size is 100 tows; with possible bad weather, the final sample size may be 70. We used a stratified sampling scheme to account for historical hot spots. We also allocate 10 tows to the offshore area not normally occupied by commercial boats. Although the sampling scheme is based on historical survey data and current commercial landing data of squid, we hope to also catch adult sardines for assessment of their population as well.
- Dave Holts reports that the final announcement and call for papers for the 51st Tuna Conference in Lake Arrowhead from May 22-25 has been distributed. Holts and Michelle DeLaFuente are the co-chairs.