In pursuit of the data required for ecosystems-based fisheries management, NOAA Fisheries has acquired a small, relatively inexpensive, portable, multi-instrumented AUV (NOAA Fisheries AUV) that can be deployed from Fisheries Survey Vessels (FSVs), small craft, or shore to augment a variety of marine ecosystem investigations. The AUV was procured through a joint investment of the NMFS Advanced Technology Working Group and the Office of Ocean Exploration. Delivered in 2005 this prototype vehicle is undergoing a comprehensive testing and refinement program that will guide future fisheries research investments in AUVs. While this vehicle is being developed, AST has used external AUV resources and demonstrated the value of AUVs in fisheries research on krill abundance in Antarctic waters.
AUVs are tools that allow us to make survey measurements that we cannot otherwise make, and make them efficiently. Miniaturization of sensors and increased battery power densities allow AUVs to carry sensor suites to concurrently explore biological, physical, chemical, and geological aspects of the oceans and to elucidate their interrelationships. AUVs can facilitate the detection and enumeration of fish and zooplankton in boundary areas, and measure the physical and biological characteristics of their habitats. Both nearshore and offshore, AUVs can facilitate improved in-situ TS measurements and remote species identification. AUVs can also aid in the characterization of fish avoidance reactions to survey vessels.
NOAA Fisheries AUV, with custom Fisheries instrumentation including a 38 kHz split-beam echo sounder, stereo imaging cameras and strobe, a CTD, 300 kHz Doppler velocity log, GPS, and 900 MHz ethernet telemetry