Rockfish Research Cruise in California MPAs

The Fisheries Ecology Division’s Early Life History (ELH) and Habitat Ecology Teams conducted two weeks of rockfish research onboard the R/V DS Jordan.

The ELH Team spent two days at Cordell Bank with the main objective of comparing size distributions of adult midwater rockfishes caught with hook and line with that of fishes observed with the Phantom ROV. Night time operations were led by Ken Baltz and focused on collections of jumbo squid for diet analysis. Both day and night operations were successful with video footage of rockfish school matched with hook and line fishing, and over 40 squid collected.

The remainder of the ELH leg was spent in Monterey Bay and off Point Sur, using the ROV to identify and map distribution of young-of-year rockfishes. Several successful ROV deployments were made, but no squid were caught during night time fishing efforts in Monterey Bay. Tom Laidig assisted in all operations on the ELH leg.

For the Habitat Ecology leg, Mary Yoklavich, Tom Laidig, and Diana Watters completed 11 dives (30-40 hours underwater) with the ROV, revisiting the dive tracks of the Delta submersible and a towed camera sled from earlier surveys conducted in October and November in three of California's newest MPAs. Over 1,000 photographs were taken to aid in identification of demersal fishes, invertebrates, and habitats on the video tapes. This information will help us understand the limitations and advantages of these three survey tools. Collaborators Dave Murfin, Scott Mau, and John Butler from FRD provided valuable expertise in operating the ROV.

(November 26, 2007)