2002 FRD News, Meetings, and Visitors

Information is chronological with the most recent, first. Choose a date, search for a context string, or browse.

November 26, 2002

  • The Southwest Fisheries Science Center will be hosting a week-long workshop (i.e., North Pacific Albacore Workshop) that will address research concerning the North Pacific albacore population. This workshop which is being coordinated by Paul Crone, Ray Conser, and Gary Sakagawa will be held from December 4-11, 2002 at the La Jolla Laboratory. Research issues to be covered will range from biological studies to formal stock assessments, including results from thorough modeling efforts based on a tuned virtual population analysis (or VPA), as well as preliminary results from a length-based, age-structured modeling method (using MULTIFAN-CL). The workshop represents an ongoing arrangement between countries that have exploited the stock over the years. This year's meeting will include fishery scientists from Japan, Taiwan, Korea, Canada, SWFSC (Honolulu and Laboratories) and the IATTC.

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November 19, 2002

  • Dave Griffith, Wayne Perryman and Chris Jones from the La Jolla Lab attended a trawl survey standardization workshop conducted at the AFSC on November 13 - 15. Additional SWFSC personnel included Keith Sakuma (Santa Cruz) and Michael Seki (Honolulu). Representatives from all NMFS Science Centers, OMAO, and NOAA Headquarters were in attendance and additional researchers were invited from Canada, Scotland and Norway to provide opinions and additional expertise. The workshop was developed in response to VADM Lautenbacher's order of 9/16/02 regarding the trawl methodology and calibration arising from the controversy over the NEFSC's groundfish surveys. For an overview of the sequence of events go to http://www.nefsc.noaa.gov/survey_gear/.

  • Sue Smith is making final revisions to her sections of the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) Fishery Management Plan, recently approved by the Pacific Fishery Management Council.

  • The Plan Development Team will meet again December 3 and 4 at Hubbs Sea Word Research Institute in San Diego to finalize the document, which will be transmitted by the Council to NMFS and the Secretary of Commerce for final approval. On Monday, November 18, Smith participated in a meeting of the North Pacific Albatross Working Group (NPAWG) via teleconference, reporting on the results of the November Pacific Council meeting with regard to the HMS FMP.

  • Dale Squires is working on RIR/RFA analyses for the HMS FMP. Squires was also invited by the FAO to participate in the working group on fishing capacity in global tuna purse seine fisheries. Squires' visitor, Dr. Chris Reid from the Forum Fishing Agency in the Solomon Islands, returned after a two-week stay devoted to the economics of tuna purse seine fleets in the western and central Pacific Oceans.
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November 12, 2002

  • Dave Holts reported that the last two of the eight satellite pop-off tags deployed on mako sharks last June have popped off and are reporting data as scheduled. All eight tags have worked perfectly and are providing behavioral and environmental data for juvenile mako sharks in the SCB.

  • Sue Smith reports that during its November 2002 meeting in Foster City, California, the Pacific Fisheries Management Council unanimously adopted the fishery management plan (FMP) for West Coast highly migratory species (HMS) fisheries. The adoption motion included the selection of specific alternatives to 23 different management actions, which are to be submitted to NMFS for review and approval. Key provisions included:

1. Prohibition on the use of pelagic longline gear within the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). Even though banned, application for an exempted fishing permit would still be possible. Previously, the Council had chosen an Ocean Wildlife Campaign option which not only included a longline ban, but also specified strict restrictions for any exempted fishing permit (EFP) longline fishing activity. At the November meeting, the Council returned to the general ban option, although it did specify that guidelines were be developed by the HMS Management Team for the Council to use in reviewing EFP proposals.

2. Specification that HMS legal drift gillnet gear must have a minimum stretched mesh size of 14 inches, which will henceforth restrict small mesh gillnetters to only a specified incidental catch allowance (eliminates the recently developed small-mesh tuna fishing activity). There are concerns about interactions with protected species, including birds, in this fishery, additional fishing effort on tuna, and competition with other HMS fishers.

3. Adoption of ‘selected’ instead of ‘all’ WPFMC seabird and turtle conservation measures to the West Coast-based longline fishing vessels operating outside the U.S. EEZ. ‘Selected’ means that the longliners must adopt all the mitigation measures required of the Hawaii fleet, except that they will be able to target swordfish and use and carry lightsticks on board. NMFS argued strongly for retaining the original preferred alternative, which included a swordfish set prohibition, but the Council indicated that there was insufficient scientific information to justify prohibiting swordfish fishing in waters that were oceanographically different in the area roughly east of 150 degrees longitude (and by extension, the biological and ecological elements in the ocean would be different) from conditions which existed in the Hawaii longline vessel area (roughly west of 150 deg. longitude).

4. The FMP will mandate observer programs initially for longline, surface hook and line (albacore troll), small purse seine, and CPFV recreational fisheries, and continue the existing driftnet observer program. An observer sampling plan is to be developed in conjunction with the Council and fishing representatives within 6 months of FMP approval.

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November 5, 2002

  • Chris Reid, economist with the Forum Fishing Agency, is visiting Dale Squires this week to conduct joint economics research on fishing capacity and global price linkages for purse seine caught tuna. Last week, Squires attended the informal South Pacific Tuna Treaty meeting and also presented the HMS Plan Development Team report to the Pacific Fishery Management Council. The PFMC voted to approve the HMS FMP. Also attending were Sam Herrick and David Au from the SWFSC.

  • Jim Kinane completed the October submission of the South Pacific Tuna Treaty data to the Forum Fisheries Agency. The data include logbook, length and species composition, landings information from 12 purse seine trips received at the SWFSC between August 1 and October 1, 2002. The information show a definite switch to fishing free swimming schools that seem more abundant during this El Nino period. This is the first submission made by Kinane since he took over processing of the Treaty information from Doug Prescott.

  • Al Coan has reviewed progress by Evgeny Romanov, a Russian scientist, on Phase A(1) of the YugNIRO longline ESDIM data rescue project. Coan reviewed data base structures that will be used to house 129 Indian and Atlantic research cruises. Data include fishing operations, fish biology and environmental data. Coan recommended some changes and has given approval to move on to the next phases, purchase of equipment and data entry.

  • Chuck Oliver completed his review and compilation of the data collected during the July white abalone survey at Tanner Bank. Oliver consolidated the video segments for nearly 200 abalone sightings onto DVD discs for further analysis on white abalone "habitat preferences" and density estimation. Using the discs, Dave Leighton is preparing a report on the flora and fauna associated with each of the abalone sighting and assessing the preliminary abalone species identification. With the help of Ben Maurer, Oliver completed a determination of the "sighting distance" for each of the abalone events for potential use in density estimation. Additional work continues on estimating the field-of-view searched during the 60-hours of video data collected during the cruise. Oliver provided John Butler with graphs on abalone spacing, depth and temperature distributions, graphics of geo-referenced ROV track lines and abalone distributions at Tanner Bank, and other graphics for the FRD program review.

  • On October 22 and 23, Sue Smith, Dave Au, Dale Squires and Sam Herrick attended a joint meeting of the HMS Plan Development Team and HMS Advisory Panel at Hubbs Sea World Research Institute meeting facilities in San Diego . The participants discussed the latest draft plan, which was presented to the Council the following week at the Pacific Council Meeting in San Francisco.

  • Nancy Lo attended " Getting a Life: women Connecting for Career Options" on October 19 at San Diego State University. Lo was an invited panelist in the session of Environmental science and Activism. This one day symposium was organized by the Department of Women' Studies. If any woman scientist would like to participate in the next symposium, please contact Dr. Doreen J. Mattingly at 619-594-8033 or e-mail .

  • Dave Holts reports that he did have a satellite pop off tag pop off a mako shark right on time. This was the sixth of eight tags deployed during the juvenile shark survey to transmit physical and environmental data as planned. The mako traveled to (near) Mag Bay Baja California Sur in the 120 days since release. Two more satellite tags are programed to pop up on Nov. 7, 2002. Holts gave presentations on the Billfish Tagging Program and Angler Survey to the SSC and AP meetings for the WPFMC in Honolulu the week of October 7th. He also participated in a recreational fishery workshop there.
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October 1, 2002

  • Dale Squires attended the Department of Commerce award ceremony in the Herbert Hoover Auditorium to receive the gold medal for his work on fishing capacity and productivity. Donna Dealy, Sam Herrick, and Squires continue to work on the RIR and RFA analyses for the HMS FMP. Herrick and Squires traveled to San Pedro to meet with Vietnamese longline fishers, an industry representative, and an HMS processor to obtain cost-and-earnings data. These fishers fish on the high seas from California ports and are likely to be adversely impacted by the requirement for consistency in regulations, particularly for the Biological Opinion, between the Pacific and Western Pacific Fishery Management Councils. Only nine surveys will be administered to comply with the OMB Paperwork Reduction Act.

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September 24, 2002

  • Russ Vetter has been developing research ideas to examine the stock structure of Pacific sardine. Severe allocation issues are developing between established California fishers and processors, and emerging fisheries off Oregon, Washington and British Columbia. The issue is the extent to which northern sardine stocks are year-round, self-sustaining, populations. Otolith microchemistry has proved useful on the East Coast for determining the natal estuarine origins and oceanic movement patterns in weakfish. A similar approach coupled with genetic studies may prove useful for sardine.

  • NRC Fellow Suzanne Kohin and SIO grad student Chugey Sepulveda are collaborating on an acoustic telemetry project designed to study movements and feeding habits in shortfin mako shark. On Sept 20 they successfully fed an ultrasonic depth and temperature sensitive pinger to a 125 cm female shark and then followed the shark for the next 24 hours. For most of the time she remained in the upper 15 meters and proceeded from the La Jolla Canyon area toward the north end of 9 Mile Bank. Near sunset the first day the shark made a couple of deeper dives and there was an associated fall in stomach temperature of about 1E C. On the second afternoon the shark was observed chasing Pacific saury at the surface and then made a single dive to close to 100 meters. Stomach temperature fell immediately from about 23E C to 17E C, presumably because of the ingestion of a cold meal captured below the thermocline. The researchers followed the shark for about 4 more hours, during which time it stayed near the surface and the stomach rewarmed to 22.5E C, before they recaptured the animal. Dissection of the stomach confirmed the placement of the tag deep within the stomach and the presence of 0.5 kg of Pacific saurys.

  • Paul Smith, Bill Watson, David Griffith, and Nancy Lo of the Fisheries Resources Division and Kevin Hill (CDF&G) met with Mr. Yu-Yi Huang and Ms. Julia Huang from Taiwan Fishery Administration on Sept 19. They discussed the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI) surveys, a more than 50-year fishery-independent sea survey which provides a long time series of ichthyoplankton data of coastal pelagic species and other fishery research and management issues.

  • David Au, submitted chapters 3 and 8 to HMS Plan Team coordinator Larry Six to meet the 9/19/02 deadline for the HMS Fishery Management Plan. Other SWFSC authors (Susan Smith and Sam Herrick) submitted chapters 2,4,9, and Appendixes. This is the 5th complete redraft that has been submitted to the Pacific Council, which is expected to make final recommendations on the draft this November.
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September 17, 2002

  • John Hunter will be traveling September 18-28 chairing two meetings in Portland, OR and attending the EPOC meeting in Timberline, OR. The first meeting is a Steering Committee Meeting on FATE (Fisheries And The Environment) and the second is ACCEO (Alliance for California Current Ecosystem Observation). Paul Smith will also be attending the ACCEO meeting.

  • The manuscript "Biology and Population Dynamics of Cowcod Rockfish (Sebastes levis) in the Southern California Bight" by John Butler, Larry Jacobson, Tom Barnes (CDFG) and Geoff Moser has been accepted by the Fishery Bulletin.

  • Dave Holts traveled to Tropic Star Lodge, Panama where he and collaborators tagged three billfish with satellite data archiving tags to assess post release survival and habitat use of recreationally important billfish. Previous studies indicate satellite tags provide the means to estimate the survival of billfish released from recreational fisheries. This study is supported by the "Adopt a Billfish" program which seeks to determine the survival rate of billfish caught and released during tournament conditions, and will also provide data on physical habitat and small scale movements.

  • Lo gave an invited talk for the International Conference on Fisheries Science to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Instituo Nacional de la Pesca. Gary Sakagawa was another invited speaker at this conference in Cancun, Mexico from September 3-7.

  • Lo met with Henry Chen, a contracted programmer, on conversion of a DBASE program to process data and compute parameter estimates for the daily egg production method to a Visual Basic-ACCESS program. The programming is completed and is being documented.
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September 3, 2002

  • The HMS FMP Plan Development Team will be holding a two-day meeting on September 4 and 5 at Hubbs Sea World Research Institute in San Diego. The team and constituents will be discussing comments recently received from NOAA General Counsel, USFWS, and NGOs and others on a revised partial draft of the plan, circulated for review last month.

  • Sue Smith and Darlene Ramon cooperated with NOAA Fisheries Enforcement and molecular biologist Mahmood Shivji of Nova Southeastern University in Florida in obtaining DNA samples of a large shipment of illegal shark fins confiscated in the Pacific off Acapulco, Mexico, in August 2002. The fins were sampled on Thursday August 29, while being held in temporary freezer storage in San Diego, CA. A large portion of the approximate 24 mt shipment appeared to be composed of blue shark, but a shark fin dealer also identified seven other species in the shipment, including various species of thresher shark, mako shark, oceanic whitetip, and silky shark. The mix of species suggests that most if not all of the sharks were caught in the oceanic pelagic zone. Thirty-seven biopsy samples were taken and will be sent to Nova Southeastern University for genetic analysis to confirm species identification.

  • The two satellite pop up tags (PSAT) scheduled to pop-up last Friday did so and are currently transmitting depth, temperature and light level data. Four of the eight PSAT tags deployed on mako sharks during the June/July juvenile shark survey have detached as programmed. Data from all four tags are still being downloaded. The four remaining tags are due to pop up in October and November 2002.

  • Five blue sharks were tagged with SPOT tags during the juvenile shark survey. The SPOT tags are attached to the dorsal fin so that location and water temperature data are transmitted each time the fish surfaces. The data indicate blue sharks surface on a daily basis providing information which will allow us to plot minimum and maximum patterns of movement to compare with sea surface temperatures. These blue sharks were also tagged with PSAT pop up tags in a study to compare the tags’ geolocation software with that of the SPOT tags which provide accurate GPS positions. So far three of the PSAT tags have popped and are currently transmitting archived data (a process that can take up to a couple of weeks).
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August 27, 2002

  • John Hunter reports that Scripps Institution plans to expand the scope of the April 2003 CalCOFI cruise by including measurements of inflow and outflow budgets for nutrients, chlorophyl, and zooplankton for two large rectangular areas, one centered in the Southern California Bight and another centered in Central California. An additional useful product of this survey will be that the 35 traditional bongo net tow stations off Central California, (unoccupied since 1985), will be reoccupied during the cruise. This new sampling will be an addition to the occupation of the standard Bight survey pattern and the underway sampling for sardine eggs carried out each April to monitor sardine abundance. These enhancements to the basic April survey pattern are possible because of a contribution of R/V Revelle shiptime to supplement the April cruise to be carried out by the NOAA ship David Starr Jordan. In addition to the scientific merit, the addition of the R/V Revelle will make possible a broader participation by SIO and other scientists in the CalCOFI cruises, a long-term goal of the CalCOFI program.

  • John Childers tagged four albacore with surgically implanted archival tags during a recent cruise aboard the F/V Shogun, a San Diego based sport boat. The vessel is chartered each year by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and Hopkins Marine Station to collect bluefin tuna for display and research. During the cruise 76 electronic tags (49 internal archival tags, 20 external tags and 7 pop-up satellite tags) were placed in bluefin tunas. In addition, approximately 55 bluefin were tagged with conventional dart tags. Childers will be deploying approximately 45 archival tags in albacore later this fall.

  • Dave Holts reports that the first two of eight satellite popup tags deployed on shortfin mako sharks released from the host fish, on schedule, last Friday. The tags were deployed June 23 during the 2002 juvenile shark abundance survey. One shark, a 153 cm female, moved 10.8 nmi in the two months since release. The other mako, a 230 cm female, moved south 492 nmi to a point just west of Magdalena Bay, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Satellite tags from two other mako sharks are scheduled to pop to the surface and transmit archived data later this week and four additional satellite tags will report in October. Scientists are examining the physical habitat, movement patterns and post-release survival of sub-adult and adult mako sharks captured in the swordfish/shark drift gillnet fishery.

  • Sam Herrick attended an IMPLAN (Impact Analysis for Planning) economic impacts modeling workshop in Woods Hole, August 13-14, 2002. Economic impacts are changes in local or regional economic activity (employment, income, sales). NMFS has three legal mandates that call for an enumeration of economic impacts stemming from policy changes: 1) National Standard 8 requires that impacts are reported for each affected fishing community; 2) Regulatory Flexibility Analysis, which requires an analysis of impacts on the regulated entities; and 3) EO12866, which requires an estimate of total impacts by state. IMPLAN (originally developed by the USDA Forest Service) uses input/output (I/O) analysis, a non-parametric framework designed to take account of how much economic activity may be generated by other economic activity within a particular area (e.g., the level of employment, total sales or final output generated in a fishing community by total landings of a given amount). IMPLAN provides a platform for developing fisheries oriented models at the regional/state/community level, and economists at the NEFSC have used it to developed I/O models for New England at the state level for each gear type. The workshop was focused on the IMPLAN applications by the NEFSC and the adaptation of their models to other areas of the U.S., in order to meet the economic impacts mandates.

  • Jim Kinane started work on August 26, 2002 as the replacement for Doug Prescott. He will be working with the South Pacific Regional Tuna Treaty data.

  • Richard Charter and his staff have provided the data for extending the hake CalCOFI larval index through 2002 to Paul Smith. The recent index has increased from a minimum in the year 2000 to one of the higher values in the 1951-2002 time series. We have also drafted an approach to estimating the latitudinal bias in the larval hake index for contemporary delivery. This projection procedure will be defined and made available on the Web shortly.
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August 20, 2002

  • John Hunter reports that he spent time organizing two meetings in Portland, OR for the end of September. The first meeting is for the FATE (Fisheries and the Environment) Steering Committee meeting for September 19-20 and the second meeting is for ACCEO (Alliance for California Current Ecosystem Observation) which meets September 23-24. The FATE meeting will focus on reviewing proposals for FY-03 and developing a FY-03 budget for the program. The ACCEO meeting will focus on the initial steps in developing a California Current wide monitoring program involving CalCOFI, IMECOCAL, and various other programs in the Northwest and Canada.

  • Hunter attended a southern California Regional Marine Monitoring Workshop in Fountain Valley, CA on August 5th. He was there to coordinate CalCOFI surveys with the sanitation district surveys.

  • The CalCOFI Committee met August 14th for their quarterly meeting. The dates are now confirmed for the next conference to be held here in La Jolla, November 13-15. The first day’s session will focus on the status of the California Current and of the stocks, followed by a half-day symposium in advanced approaches for monitoring the California Current as well as contributed papers.

  • Sue Smith and Dave Au, with the able assistance of Michelle DeLaFuente and Rand Rasmussen, completed revisions to the highly migratory species (HMS) FMP chapters 3, 4, 8, and 9 and Appendix A to meet the recent August 1 deadline. At the Pacific Council's March meeting, significant revisions to the draft document became necessary to address public, USFWS, and NMFS comments received during the public comment period. A substantially revised version of most chapters of the FMP is now being assembled and will be distributed to NMFS/NOAA, the HMS advisory subpanel, and others for informal review in August. After addressing reviewers' comments in early September, a complete new draft of the FMP will be compiled for distribution to the Council prior to the October 28-Nov 1 meetings. Smith also recently completed revisions to the paper " Biology and Ecology of Thresher Sharks (Family Alopiidae) by Smith, Rasmussen, Ramon and Cailliet, which has been accepted for publication in "Sharks of the Open Ocean" (Blackwell Scientific Publications) and is in press. The production of this book has been greatly delayed, but it is hoped that it will finally be published late this year or early next year.

  • Smith also reports that a request has been sent to the Southwest Region's Observer Program for additional sample collections in the California-Oregon swordfish-shark drift gillnet fishery. Observers will be asked this season to collect stomach samples of mako, blue and common thresher shark when two or more of these species co-occur in a given drift gillnet set. The objective is to determine similarities and differences in the diet of these three shark species where they co-occur.

  • Al Coan completed the August submission of the South Pacific Regional Tuna Treaty data to the Forum Fisheries Agency. The data are logbook, length frequency, species composition and landings information from U.S. purse seiners fishing in the central western Pacific and cover data received at the SWFSC during the period June 1 to August 1, 2002.

  • A new Aquatic Farms contractor, Tuan Truong, has started work with the HMS data management team. He will be here for one year and will be assisting in the computerization of the South Pacific Regional Tuna Treaty data. He will also be assisting in the updating and documentation of the Treaty processing software.
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July 30, 2002

Daily Egg Production of Pacific Sardine

  • Nancy Lo finished the initial estimation of the spawning biomass of Pacific sardine using the daily egg production method. Data were collected from two ichthyoplankton surveys: one was from March 21 - April 19 aboard the NOAA ship McArthur and the other was from March 27 -April 25 aboard NOAA ship Daivd Starr Jordan. Adult sardine samples for reproductive output were also taken aboard the Jordan.

  • The daily egg production of Pacific sardine off California from San Diego to Monterey was estimated to be 0.87/0.05m? (17.4/m?) and the spawning biomass was estimated to be 210,000 mt for an area of 283,643 km?, similar to the area in 2001: 321,386 km?, assuming the daily specific fecundity (number of eggs/population weight (gm)/day is 23.55, an estimate obtained during the 1994 survey. The estimates of spawning biomass of Pacific sardine in the years 1994 and 1996 - 2002 are 129,000; 83,000; 440,000; 310,000; 280,000; 1,060,000; 791,000; and 210,000 mt respectively.

  • The decline of spawning biomass estimate from 791,000 mt in 2001 to 210,000 mt in 2002 is primarily attributed to the decline of daily egg production from 2.9/0.05m2 in 2001 to 0.84/0.05m2 in 2002. We believe that the 2002 survey may have missed the high peak spawning period and the daily specific fecundity of 23.55 eggs/population weight/day may not be a proper value to use. That is because the proportion of spawning females may have been lower than 14% which is the long-term mean used in the past and present estimate. We planned on examining 24 females collected during the March-April survey aboard the NOAA ship David Starr Jordan to obtain an estimate of the proportion of females spawning and recompute the spawning biomass of Pacific sardine for 2002, if any evidence exists indicating that the rate may be substantially below 14%.

On Tunas and Billfish Meeting

  • Al Coan, Ray Conser, and Paul Crone of the FRD attended the Standing Committee on Tunas and Billfish meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii, July 18-28, 2002. Coan presented two papers and Crone presented one at the plenary session. At the working group meetings major advancements in the area were discussed and statements developed pertaining to the status of yellowfin, skipjack or bigeye tuna stocks in the area. The papers presented by FRD staff were:

  • The 2001 U.S. purse seine fishery for tropical tunas in the central-western Pacific, by Al Coan, Gary Sakagawa and Gordon Yamasaki (SWR, Pago Pago, American Samoa). The authors reviewed data collected from the fishery in 2001. Catches reaching the lowest levels since 1989 as the fleet remained in port for the first two months of 2001 to protest low cannery prices. Catch rates dropped for the second year and fisheries switched back to fishing on free-swimming schools instead of fishing on fish aggregation devices (FAD).

  • An update of factors that may have affected U.S. purse seine catch rates in the central-western Pacific Ocean: an examination of fishing strategy and effective effort, by Al Coan and David Itano (University of Hawaii). The authors document a switch in fishing strategy from fishing mainly free swimming schools in 1988 - 1995 to fishing mainly on FAD’s in 1996 - 1999 and then a switch back to free-swimming schools in 2000 and 2001. The switch to FADs increased efficiency of the fleet by decreasing the length of trips, allowing more trips per year, decreasing the number of sets made per trip and increasing catch rates, especially catch per set which almost doubled. Fishing on FAD’s, however, increased the catch of smaller tunas and increased catches of bigeye tunas and bycatch species.

  • Sampling design and variability associated with estimates of species composition of tuna landings for the U.S. purse seine fishery in the central-western Pacific Ocean (1997-2001), by Paul Crone and Al Coan. The authors examine the sampling of the U.S. purse seine fleet for species composition and develop measures of precision of the estimated proportions of skipjack, yellowfin and bigeye tunas in the catch. Species composition measurements were found to be very precise for annual estimates of yellowfin and skipjack tuna catch (CVs < 6%). The precision of the annual bigeye tuna catch estimates was not as precise (CVs < 13%).

  • Al Coan and John Childers also contributed major sections of the U.S. national report that was presented by Russell Ito of the Honolulu Laboratory.
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July 23, 2002

  • Sue Smith continues to work on revisions of the draft highly migratory species fishery management plan for the Pacific Council. Rand Rasmussen is also helping to revise ArcView habitat maps for various species. The northern boundaries of bluefin tuna, swordfish, and shortfin mako shark are being moved further north after new drift gillnet data were received from the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife showing good catches north of the Columbia River during the period 1991-1999. Smith is also revising a manuscript on thresher sharks for the book, "Sharks of the Open Ocean."

  • John Butler returned from a highly successful cruise on the NOAA ship David Starr Jordan. Multiple operations involving NMFS, USGS and California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) were conducted during day and night hours. Daylight hours were devoted to searching for white abalone and night time hours were devoted to mapping habitat using sidescan (USGS) and multi-beam sonar (CSUMB). Habitat maps produced at night were used on the following day to navigate the ship and ROV while searching for abalone. These efforts resulted in a detailed topographic and habitat maps and a very precise populations estimate. The crew of the NOAA ship David Starr Jordan contributed greatly to the success of this cruise.

  • Dave Holts traveled to Prince William Sound to participate in a cooperative study on lamnid sharks with researchers from Hopkins Marine Station and Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Eleven salmon sharks were tagged with satellite archival tags for habitat, migration and post-release survival studies. This work builds on previous studies with salmon sharks in Prince William Sound and on mako sharks tagged off Southern California during the Center’s juvenile shark surveys.
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July 16, 2002

  • John Hunter attended a workshop on viral hemorrhagic septicemia outbreak in California sardines at the SWR last Wednesday. Currently, the Australian government is concerned regarding imports of frozen blocks of sardine for bluefin tuna aquaculture because of the occurrence of this disease in Pacific sardine. The meeting concerned developing a certification program as a strategy for the U.S. to facilitate exports to Australia, and current research being conducted to identify the prevalence of the disease and treatment of products to reduce the prevalence.

  • John Hunter also met with Diane Pleschner (California Wetfish Producers Assoc.) and Rod McInnis to discuss the need for more information on the population of sardines at the northern end of their range in Oregon and Washington waters.

  • John Butler reports from the NOAA ship David Starr Jordan that the white abalone cruise is a tremendous success. More than 90 white abalone have been located with the ROV using a high-resolution multi-beam map to guide search efforts. The researchers will map all of the white abalone habitat on this cruise. Most of the white abalone are located in depths between 40-50 m. The geologists have found an interesting structure on Tanner Bank. It appears to be an anticline that is eroded at the top. There is a ring-like circle of exposed bedding with a depression in the center. The researchers are also seeing squid egg clumps attached to rocks at depths between 40 and 60 meters.
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July 9, 2002

  • Dave Holts reports that the shark abundance survey was completed on July 8. At each shark longline sampling site, two fishing sets were conducted during the day. The shark longline consisted of approximately 200 hooks attached to a stainless steel wire two miles in length. Sharks were tagged with conventional spaghetti tags, satellite transmitting tags and tetracycline. In all, 35 sampling sets were conducted netting 119 mako, 73 blue and 2 common thresher sharks. The preliminary data indicates overall catch rate was 0.56 per HH hours for mako and 0.35HH hours for blue sharks. The cpue for mako is similar to prior years but the catch rate for blue sharks is much lower when compared to prior years. In addition, 163 sharks were tagged with conventional tags for movement data, 101 marked with OTC for age and growth studies, 93 DNA samples collected and 55 blood samples collected for condition and post release survival studies. Eight satellite pop up tags were deployed on mako sharks and 10 satellite tags deployed on blue sharks for a series of habitat, migration and condition studies. Early results indicate blue sharks surface briefly and data transmissions are providing temperature and location data daily.

  • The FRD's Advanced Survey Technologies Program tested a prototype buoy for the FAD by-catch reduction project in Scripps canyon. The spar-buoy included an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler, GPS, data-logging computer, power control circuit, VHF radio-modem, strobe, and radar reflector. During the 10-day deployment, data was telemetered to the SWFSC each hour. To maintain the buoy's position over the canyon, a two-point mooring configuration was used to straddle the canyon. Joe Warren used AST's 19 foot multi-instrumented work skiff to acoustically survey the canyon and to deploy and recover the buoy and ground tackle. Adam Jenkins of the AERD is commended for his excellent boat handling during these operations. Additional instrumentation will be added to the buoy for deployment on fish aggregating devices in the tropical Pacific.

  • John Butler will depart on July 9 on the NOAA ship David Starr Jordan to map white abalone habitat at offshore islands and banks. Habitat will be mapped by USGS and California State University Monterey Bay geologists. Habitat type will be ground-truthed using the ROV. White abalone localities will be recorded for future brood stock collection.
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July 2, 2002

  • John Hunter was in Miami, FL last week (June 26-28) to co-chair an Inter-American Institute (IAI) Small Pelagic Fishes and Climate Change (SPACC) workshop on mapping spawning habitat of coastal pelagic fishes. This was a joint program involving Mexico, SWFSC, Peru and Chile.

  • Dave Holts reported on from the shark-tagging cruise 6/24: We have made 11 sets and completed five of the seven sampling blocks. We tagged 64 mako with OTC, deployed one pop-up tag, conducted one acoustic track, collected 60 DNA samples and a multitude of other samples. Everything is on schedule, weather is good, fishing a little slow with mako. Report on 7/1: Have completed 23 sampling sets, captured 89 mako but only 22 blue sharks. Blue shark catch is very low compared to prior years, although size is a little larger. We have tagged 105 sharks and deployed five pop up tags and three archival spot tags. Also collected 100 DNA samples, 47 blood samples and injected 97 mako with OTC for age and growth studies. We are on schedule to finish the survey on time.

  • Beverly Macewicz participated as an expert on fish reproduction in a workshop June 1-8 by invitation of Luis Cubillos (Instituto de Investigacion Pesquera, Talcahuano, Chile) and Ciro Oyarzun (University of Concepcion, Concepcion, Chile). The workshop reviewed the results of the 2001 Chilean jack mackerel egg production survey and provided advice on estimating spawning frequency and fecundity. This is a continuation of the long-term cooperation with Chilean scientists involved in the Daily Egg Production Method (DEPM).

  • Sue Smith continues to work on the various chapters of the HMS FMP. She also recently received back referee comments for an Alopidae manuscript scheduled for publication in the book "Sharks of the Open Ocean."
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June 11, 2002

  • John Hunter reports that Geoffrey Moser will retire on June 14th after nearly 40 years of service with the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries and its successor agency, the National Marine Fisheries Service. Moser is a world leader in the field of larval fish ecology and taxonomy. Thanks to his pioneering work, leadership, and the excellence of his team, the larvae of most fishes in the California Current can be identified by visual means. Their identifying features are described in the 1,517 page monograph "The Early Life stages of Fishes in the California Current (CalCOFI Atlas 33), containing descriptions of 586 species and 2,500 illustrations. This book is one of the finest scholarly achievements ever produced by NMFS; it is widely used throughout the world as an identification guide and frequently copied by others in regional guides. Moser's work has been central to CalCOFI and continues to this day. In the early years most of the larvae taken in CalCOFI cruises had not been identified, but today most of them have been. Over 500 species are routinely identified in samples each year. Moser and his staff went back through the past collections identifying larvae using the new characters thereby making a new time series for species starting from the beginning of CalCOFI. This huge task was accomplished as well as overcoming a large backlog of unidentified collections. This work is documented in a series of CalCOFI Atlases and publications. The bottom line is that the CalCOFI ichthyoplankton time series is, and continues to be, up to date so that the data are available for stock assessments from the current year back to 1950. Moser has published many outstanding papers on larval ecology over the years and recently he has begun studying assemblages of species as a measure of the ecosystem state. Hunter's hope is that Moser's ideas are just the beginning of a new understanding of ecosystem function provided by the CalCOFI time series, which will be carried onward by others. We expect a continuation of the fine tradition that Moser established, of making ichthyoplankton data a practical and timely source of information for a resource agency. However, it is undeniable that we at the SWFSC and CalCOFI family are losing one of the best minds in the field, and an unparalleled source of knowledge on the early life history and ecology of larval fishes. We wish him well in his new future. Our family is not going to be the same without him.

  • John Butler reports that everything is going ok on the squid egg survey in Monterey Bay. There are lots of eggs and the researchers have had the opportunity to view and record two purse seine sets on squid, one containing bycatch of eggs. This work is being carried out as a cooperative study with the California Department of Fish and Game and focuses on the effect of fishing on squid egg beds. The work was funded by SWR Habitat funds for 2002.

  • Bill Watson reports that data analyses for the 1998-99 MERRP study of distributions and abundances of planktonic shorefish eggs and larvae around the Vandenberg and Big Sycamore Canyon Ecological Reserves were completed and a manuscript describing the final results was submitted to CalCOFI Reports. The areas around both reserves are predominantly soft bottom (Big Sycamore Canyon Reserve is entirely soft bottom) and a striking feature of both reserves is their relatively low productivity in eggs and larvae of most commercially and recreationally valuable shorefishes (most have hard-bottom/kelp forest habitat affinity) - the fishes they were intended to protect. This especially was the case at Vandenberg Ecological Reserve, which seemingly provided poor habitat even for the soft-bottom species that might have been expected there. The Vandenberg site is a high-energy area with strong currents, strong sand transport, and relatively poor fish habitat. No evidence was provided to suggest significant production of planktonic fish eggs or larvae from the vicinity of the Vandenberg Ecological Reserve. California halibut and some other soft-bottom species do spawn in Big Sycamore Canyon Reserve but egg abundance is higher outside the reserve, suggesting that more are produced outside than inside. Furthermore, the soft-bottom species are unlikely to have much site fidelity to a small reserve surrounded by extensive, similar habitat, and it seems unlikely that production of eggs or larvae of these species from the reserve will be significantly enhanced relative to adjacent areas in the future. In contrast to the two reserves, abundances of eggs or larvae of several valuable taxa (e.g., sheephead, white seabass, barracuda, rockfishes) were high nearby at Anacapa and San Miguel Islands, where rocky bottom and kelp habitats are available. For example, hypothetical reserves similar to Big Sycamore Canyon Reserve would have contained an estimated average of 103-130 California sheephead eggs/10m2 in summer (there were none in the Big Sycamore Canyon or Vandenberg reserves). Respective estimates for rockfish larvae during winter-spring were138.8/10m2 at Anacapa Island and 32.7/10m2 at San Miguel Island; average abundances in the Big Sycamore Canyon and Vandenberg reserves were 1.1/10m2 and 4.9/10m2, respectively.

  • Eric Lynn returned from a joint cruise with Bob Humphreys of the Hawaii NMFS Lab. One of the objectives of the cruise was to identify billfish larvae onboard ship by molecular techniques. This is a continuation of work begun last year. Different extraction methods were tried that did not significantly improve on previous methods. In all, over 50 billfish larvae were collected. Shipboard ID was not as successful as last year but all larvae will be identified.
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June 4, 2002

  • A research cooperative has been established between the SWFSC and the U.S. Tuna Foundation to minimize bycatch when fishing on fish aggregating devices (FADs). Instrumentation will be developed and deployed by the FRD's Advanced Survey Technologies Program to characterize the spatial, temporal, and size distributions of tuna and other fish beneath and surrounding FADs used by the U.S. tuna fishing fleet in the eastern tropical Pacific (ETP). These distributions will be related to concurrent observations of environmental conditions and predator-prey interactions. Ultimately, results from this research could be used to help fishers develop strategies that minimize bycatch of under-size tuna and other undesirable fish species. These actions will help to ensure the long-term sustainability of FAD-based tuna fisheries in the ETP and central and western Pacific.

  • On Wednesday June 5, Sue Smith and Bill Watson will meet at the La Jolla Lab with biologists who monitor the endangered least tern in San Diego County. Bird biologists Elizabeth Copper, Brian Foster and Robert Patton survey terns for the San Diego Zoological Society, San Diego Unified Port District, U.S. Navy, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge Complex, California Department of Fish and Game, and San Elijo Lagoon Conservancy. The biologists had contacted the SWFSC about information on anchovy, smelt and sardine abundance as it might relate to fluctuations in tern breeding success in southern California. This year may represent one of the poorer breeding years. It looks like CalCOFI data, especially the new manta tow information on atherinids (e.g., topsmelt) might prove extremely useful in helping to understand these fluctuations in tern fledging success. This is yet another example of how useful and valuable the CalCOFI database is.

  • Smith, coordinating with the SWR Office, responded to a request from NMFS Seabird Coordinator Kim Rivera and NMFS HQ on fishery/seabird interactions. Information on the status of these interactions for various U.S. fisheries is being provided to the House Resources Fisheries Conservation Wildlife and Oceans Subcommittee for current discussions on amendments to the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
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May 28, 2002

  • John Hunter completed his final executive meeting of the IGP, GLOBEC, SPACC in Plymouth, U.K. last week. He resigned his chairmanship and membership in the executive committee effective May 2002. Hunter was one of the founders of SPACC five years ago and reports that the organization is doing well and is at its strongest.

  • Thanks to partial support from FATE, the FRD plans to extend the 2003 January CalCOFI survey north to cover the northern lines usually occupied by CalCOFI prior to 1985 (probably through line 60, just north of San Francisco Bay). This resumption of a major portion of the former January CalCOFI pattern gives much better coverage of the spawning of hake and various groundfish species and makes possible the development of a new time series of larval abundance extending back to 1950. New time series based on these data, which may be useful for stock assessment, will be developed as part of the FATE program.

  • Since the detection of the VHSV (viral hemorrhagic septicemia virus) infection of southern California sardines, Hunter and Paul Smith have been involved in arranging the study of the geographic distribution of the virus. We have just completed a trawl survey in which several dozen fish were captured outside the normal fishing areas, and these fish have been sent for viral analysis to Dr. Hedrick's fish disease lab at UC Davis. We also have heard that cooperative viral survey of fish and frozen fish blocks has been funded by Sea Grant and by industry cooperation.

  • Sue Smith completed a write-up for NMFS' Our Living Oceans-Habitat publication for U.S. West Coast highly migratory species. She submitted it to Mary Yoklavich at PFEL, who is coordinating the material for the region. S. Smith also continues work on revising Chapters 4 and 9 of the draft HMS FMP in preparation for the next team meeting on June 10-12 here in La Jolla.

  • John Butler calculated rebuilding yields for cowcod under a variety of assumptions for the Groundfish Management Team (GMT). These calculations were similar to those in the rebuilding plan but more scenarios were needed to satisfy NEPA requirements.
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May 21, 2002

  • Ron Dotson, Dimitry Abramenkoff have been working on a paper authored by Dr. Orest Diachok, Naval Research Labs, Dr. Paul Smith and Dr. David Demer of our laboratory on the first trials of a long range acoustic method for determining the size and abundance. The first trials were in September of 2001 and the next trials will begin in August of this year. This approach uses an omnidirectional sound source with low sound levels to transmit many frequencies of sound to a buoyed array of hydrophones at 6 km range. The transmission of some frequencies is altered by the presence of fish with swim bladders which absorb those frequencies selectively.

  • Paul Smith reports that the CPS Management Team will meet next week at La Jolla to discuss the 2002-3 Pacific mackerel harvest guidelines.

  • Christina Show attended a MATLAB training in New York from May 13-16. MATLAB is a very powerful matrix based numeric computation software with high level programming language capability along with graphic, visualization and many toolboxes. The Database Toolbox enables you to use and analyze data stored in Microsoft Access, Oracle and other databases. The Excel Link takes advantage of Excel's familiar spreadsheet interface and the sophisticated computational and visualization capabilities of MATLAB. The Statistics Toolbox provides functions and graphical user interfaces for analyzing historical data, modeling data, simulating systems, and developing statistical algorithms. Show is working with Rich Cosgrove to get the most current version up and running on the Unix. Rich is also looking into a PC version under our current license agreement with UCSD.

  • Nancy Lo is in Seattle, WA today to consult on a migration model with University of Washington scientists.

  • Sue Smith is working on revisions of Chapters 4 and 9 of the draft HMS FMP for the Pacific Council, and the highly migratory species material for the Our Living Oceans Habitat publication.
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May 14, 2002

  • John Hunter chaired a GLOBEC/SPACC meeting in Plymouth, U.K. May 10-11.

  • Dale Squires met with representatives of the WFAO last week, who are working on the NMFS-ARF cost-and-earnings survey of albacore troll vessels, to fine-tune the survey.

  • David Au, Norm Bartoo, Steve Crooke, Sam Herrick, and Dale Squires met with Doyle Hanan concerning analysis and necessary contributions to the HMS FMP's development of a bycatch and reporting section to satisfy the Magnuson-Stevens Act's requirements. Squires continues to summarize and "clean up" data from cost-and-earnings NMFS-FISH survey of the drift gillnet fleet.

  • Dr. Nancy C-H. Lo has completed a first order model of coastwise migration of the offshore and northern group of Pacific sardine for internal review. The sardine has recovered recently to biomass levels not seen since the 1930s and is fished from Mexico, through the states of California, Oregon and Washington and into British Columbia, Canada. Novel sampling techniques have shown that the spawning stock is distributed far off the coast, continental shelf, and slope even though the fishery is conducted within a few miles of the coast line generally in the continental shelf regions. Early data, from the 1920s and 1930s cannot be quantitatively compared with current data because the fishing effort in the summer, off British Columbia and the rest of the Pacific Northwest, is conducted in daylight while the winter fishery off Southern and Central California is a night fishery, primarily conducted during the nights surrounding the new moon. The draft migration model examines and compares the age frequency during the winter fishery off California with the age frequencies off California and the Pacific Northwest during the summer 1941-42 season. Tagging data off coastal California in 1937 and tags returned 1937-1940 off Central California and Pacific Northwest are included. This first order maximum likelihood model will be distributed to the sardine management team for suggestions for further modification and for planned addition of environmental variables.

  • A paper relating to the first experiments on acoustic demography by absorption of sound proportional to recruit populations of anchovy has been drafted by Dr. Orest Diachok, Naval Research Laboratory, for comments prior to delivery at an international acoustic conference to be held in Montpelier France this summer. This technique promises to estimate size of juvenile fish with bladders by a non-invasive technique over a 6-km path at sea. Collaborators at SWFSC include Dr. David Demer, Dr. Paul Smith, Dimitry Abramenkoff and Ron Dotson. A second round of experimental insonifications will be done in August using a drum purse seiner and a trawler on charter from the SIO vessel SPROUL.

  • Christina Show demonstrated the utility of the newly documented Ken Mais sea survey data set by providing critical information to Dr. Kevin Hill, Chairman of the Coastal Pelagic Fisheries Management Team, for designing the information report for the Pacific mackerel harvest guideline. This information is also useful for planning improved quantifiable night light data for evaluating future fishery independent estimates of recruitment and biomass. This continues the utility of this historical data set for defining the distribution of pre-recruit squid.

  • Ray Conser, Paul Crone, Dave Au, and Gary Sakagawa participated in the 3rd Scientific Review meeting of the Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) during May 6-9, 2002. Draft stock assessment documents for yellowfin tuna, bigeye, skipjack, and striped marlin were reviewed and preliminary management advice was discussed. Based on reviewers comments and discussion during the meeting, the assessment documents will be revised prior to the Commission's annual meeting in Mexico City (June 2002).

  • Russ Vetter gave the Friday noon seminar for the Marine Biology Research Division at SIO on May 10th. The talk " The Evolution and Conservation Biology of the Rockfishes; the West Coast's Most Species Rich and Imperiled Genus of Fishes" was well received.
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April 30, 2002

  • Dale Squires is cleaning up and organizing the cost-and-earnings data set of the drift gillnet fishery to prepare for Regulatory Impact Review and Regulatory Flexibility Act analyses for the HMS FMP.

  • John Butler has finished a draft of the abalone workshop report and integrated comments of participants into the report. Butler met with the officers of the NOAA ship David Starr Jordan to coordinate activities on the upcoming abalone survey cruise. Butler also gave a presentation to the Commerce Science and Technology Fellowship program on the application of remotely operated vehicles to fisheries science.

  • On Thursday, Dave Griffith and Ron Dotson on the NOAA ship David Starr Jordan return to San Diego after completing the spring CalCOFI survey and 12 days of adult sardine sampling. They had very good weather during the CalCOFI part of the cruise but lost several days of work due to high winds during the adult sampling phase. The adult sardine seem to be dispersed over a very large area.

  • Nancy Lo continues her migration model of Pacific sardine. Her initial analysis was applied to catch data collected from Monterey San Francisco and Northwest during 1941-42 season and tags returned during 1937- 40 from fish tagged in September-November 1937. The initial results are encouraging. Now Nancy Lo begins to incorporate catch data from the 1941-1948 seasons and hopefully environmental variables to the model. The migration rates estimated from the model will be used in future stock assessment models of Pacific sardine.
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April 23, 2002

  • Al Coan has completed the April submission of the South Pacific Regional Tuna Treaty data to the Forum Fisheries Agency. The data include logbooks, landings, length and species composition of the catch from U.S. purse seiners fishing in the central-western Pacific. The data submitted were received between February 1, 2002 and April 1, 2002 and are from 34 vessel trips made in the 2001 fishing season. All data were collected by the Pacific Islands Area Office in American Samoa and processed by the Southwest Fisheries Science Center in La Jolla.

  • Nancy Lo participated in the annual career day for college and high school students organized by American Statistical Association San Diego Chapter at San Diego State University on April 20th.

  • The McArthur returned to San Diego on Wednesday evening a couple of days early due to high winds and sea conditions. Due to the bad weather they were unable to find the northern extent of the sardine spawning. Wednesday night the David Starr Jordan tore its trawl net and had to go to Port Hueneme, where Richard Charter met them with replacement nets. Due to the bad weather they were unable to get back out until Saturday. They are scheduled to complete the cruise and return to San Diego on April 24th.

  • Russ Vetter reports that Dr. Suzanne Kohin has joined the group as a postdoctoral associate working on pelagic shark bioenergetics and movement patterns. Dr. Kohin worked previously at the UCSD Medical School. She received her Ph. D. from U.C. Santa Cruz where she worked on the diving physiology of elephant seals.

  • The HMS Plan Development Team met last week at the SWFSC. This work session was devoted to review of revisions to the environmental impact statement/fishery management plan for U.S. west coast fisheries for highly migratory species. The team reviewed a matrix prepared by Susan Smith highlighting the similarities and differences among the five alternatives for longline fishing in the EEZ. This matrix was prepared to reduce confusion over the alternatives, particularly the two alternatives which contain special exempted fishing permit processes. These include the new preferred alternative designated by the Pacific Council at its March 2002 meeting, which was originally proposed by the Ocean Wildlife Campaign, (OWC) and the alternative originally proposed by the team. There was considerable discussion about the intent of the OWC proposal. David Wilmot of OWC clarified the intent. The major difference is that the preferred alternative (OWC proposal) would require a "negligible impact" on bycatch and protected species before a fishery would be allowed, while the team proposal would require "significantly lower" bycatch and protected species interactions compared to the drift gilllnet fishery. In the preferred alternative, the Pacific Council would define "negligible impact" in advance of the experiment.

    The Council directed the team to develop MSY proxies for pelagic and bigeye thresher sharks and dorado. This action was based on the comments from NMFS that the lack of MSY estimates or proxies for these species was a deficiency. The revised pelagic thresher MSY proxy is greater than 20 mt, and is based on average catch during the 1983, 1984 and 1997 El Nino years. The MSY proxy for bigeye thresher is a range of 30 to 90 mt, and is based on average catches of typical years, 1990-1997. The dorado proxy is a range of 220 to 560 mt and is based on FAO Area 77 catches.

    MSY estimates for striped marlin, swordfish and mako shark are listed as "pending." The team recommended that MSY proxies or estimates be included for these species as well. The proxies for marlin and swordfish likely will be the average of stock wide catches, and the proxy for mako likely will be the harvest guideline.

    The team had several legal questions about MSY. Can the MSY estimate or proxy be expressed as a range? If expressed as a range, which value is used to determine overfishing? Does a change in estimation procedure or value require a plan amendment? By telephone, Beth Mitchell responded that there is flexibility in expressing MSY, and that if the best scientific information supports a range, then it should be expressed as a range. If expressed as a range, there is no set procedure for determination of overfishing. The team and the Pacific Council should look at alternatives and provide a rationale for whatever it recommends. Changes in MSY values or procedures require plan amendments.

  • Susan Smith distributed a revised draft of chapter 4. The revised chapter will address the final essential fish habitat (EFH) rule, include improved analyses of alternatives for designating EFH and fishery impacts and include more information on habitat areas of particular concern (HAPC) and marine reserves. With regard to HAPC, the team concluded that it is premature to establish specific HAPC’s at this time. The preferred EFH definitions have been revised somewhat to include both static and dynamic features.

  • The NMFS and EPA letters requested additional information on standardized reporting of bycatch and measures to reduce bycatch and minimize bycatch mortality. The voluntary catch and release program in the recreational fishery needs further discussion and analysis. The team discussed the FMP proposed action that would remove the requirement for albacore trollers to file offshore declarations. In this instance, no federal regulation is required but action by the State of California to change its rule is needed. The state is in the process of changing this rule. Language to this effect needs to be added to the FMP. NMFS commented that the FMP needs to be clear as to the incidental catch level to be permitted and the rationale for that level.

    The team will develop specific incidental catch allowances for each gear, including trawl, bottom longline, pot, gillnet, lampara and purse seine. Limits may be expressed in numbers of fish and/or weight, depending on the species.
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April 16, 2002

  • Ron Lynn reports that in January 2002 the circulation in the Cow Cod Conservation Area (CCCA) was weak and variable indicating that at this time of year the Conservation Area for cowcod may function as a retention area for cowcod larvae. Ken Bliss has processed the CTD data and derived the velocities from the ADCP files for the CCCA survey JD0202. Ron Lynn’s initial interpretation of the results is that the flow patterns are very weak and variable within and about the box that encompasses 98% of the CCCA (2% of the CCCA falls in a separate box closer to San Diego). The CCCA lies centrally within the Southern California Bight (SCB) and includes waters around San Nicolas Island and Tanner and Cortes Banks.

    These results are consistent with the long-term mean condition for the winter quarter which has a broad trough in dynamic height centered near the CCCA; flow is weakly poleward to the east and equatorward to the west. There is general cyclonic recirculation of California Current waters as part of the current turns to the coast south of the international border and then to the north. Conditions differ in the spring quarter when upwelling winds drive a strong coastal flow to the south. In and about the Bight , the islands and bathymetric features temper this springtime flow. In summer and fall quarters there is a large and energetic cyclonic flow pattern roughly centered about San Nicolas Island.

    The CCCA survey completed two encompassing tracks along the borders of the CCCA, one at the beginning and another at the end of the survey. The two realizations of velocity are similar showing a small net westward drift of the waters, however; both the border tracks and internal tracks also showed multiple mini-eddies (10 to 30 n. mi. diameter). This circulation pattern is one that favors retention about bathymetric features and thus appears highly suitable for early rockfish larvae that need to be retained near the bottom. El Nino and La Nina cycles can cause strong inter-annual variations from the long-term mean flow patterns and water mass conditions. Either event can produce an increase flushing of SCB waters: influx from the south with the California Countercurrent / Undercurrent during an El Nino or from the north during a La Nina.

  • David Demer made two presentations at the international workshop on the application of passive acoustics in fisheries, held at MIT. Demer presented "Detection and characterization of yellowfin and bluefin tuna using passive acoustical techniques," based upon the Master’s Thesis by Scott Allen (UNH; graduated December 2001) and contents of a manuscript by Allen and Demer submitted to Fisheries Research. Demer also presented "Passive- and active-acoustical monitoring of marine life using multi-instrumented buoys." The latter presentation included a description of the multi-instrumented, remotely monitored buoy system developed to make long-time series measurements of krill availability, environmental forcing, and foraging activities in the near-shore area of Cape Shirreff, Livingston Island, Antarctica. Results of the ADCP and multi-frequency echosounder sub-systems from February/March 2002 have garnered new information about the temporal variability in krill dispersion and environmental forcing. Plans are to add passive acoustical sub-systems, originally designed for radiated ship noise measurements related to fish avoidance reaction (collaborative project with Chris Wilson, AFSC), for deployment of the multi-instrumented buoys on fish aggregating devices in the tropical Pacific.

  • Paul Smith was invited by the Regional Response Team IX and its Applied Response Technologies (ART) Committee to participate with about 30 others in the second part of the Ecological Risk Assessment (ERA) to evaluate the ecological resource impacts of spilled oil and oil spill response operations off the Southern California coast. The results of this ERA process will be used to to improve oil spill response strategies and to enhance existing oil spill contingency planning.

  • Sue Smith is preparing revisions of chapters 4 and 9 of the HMS fishery management plan to present at this week's Plan Development Team meeting, to be held at the La Jolla Laboratory April 17-19.

  • On Sunday the NOAA ship MacArthur went into Santa Cruz to get out of gale force winds. They were still getting sardine eggs off San Francisco. On Tuesday morning it was still too rough to work so they started for San Diego and expect to be in late Wednesday night. The NOAA ship David Starr Jordan has been unable to do any trawling because of the bad weather. At Santa Rosa on Sunday night the winds in the anchorage went to a sustained 40 - 45 knots with gusts up to 55.

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April 9, 2002

  • John Hunter reports that there will be a meeting of the Alliance for the California Current Ecosystem Observation (ACCEO) September 23-24, 2002 in Portland, Oregon. The objectives of the Portland meeting are to present concepts for the Alliance, discuss issues, plan the structure of the Alliance, facilitate the development of pilot (proof of concept) activities, and to identify people willing to work to make the Alliance happen.

  • Paul Smith is in Santa Barbara, CA this week at the Santa Barbara Channel EPA Ecological Risk Assessment II meeting as the Regional representative.

  • The David Starr Jordan and the McArthur are making good progress on the sardine EPM cruises. We have found sardine eggs as far offshore as 200 miles. Because of this widespread distribution we are modifying the survey patterns of both ships to go farther offshore than originally planned. The Jordan will complete leg I of the cruise on Saturday and begin adult sampling on leg II.

  • ST’s in the CC are below long-term means. Recent (late March / early April) CW satellite-derived SST imagery suggests that much of the region off central and southern California is 1.5 to 2 degrees below normal for this date. The SST anomaly apparently extends at least several hundred km offshore as shown by the El Nino Watch Advisory map for February. This SST pattern is not unlike that seen during spring 1999, a period of strong La Nina conditions. The evolving patterns of sardine spawning reported by the crews aboard the NOAA Vessels David Starr Jordan and McArthur also bear some resemblance to conditions found during the spring of 1999. Sardine eggs have been found over a large area extending well offshore and in places beyond the traditional extent of the CalCOFI pattern. Although a large area has eggs, the numbers of eggs/m3 are consistently low on the line transects reported to date. During 1999 there also were broad areas of low concentrations, but there were several areas of high concentrations. In warmer years, such as seen in the 1990’s, sardine spawning was often limited to SST’s above 13 °C. In 1999, and again this year, much of the traditional region of spawning is less than 13 °C. Spawners apparently adjust to the lower temperatures if productivity is adequate. Chlorophyll values, as revealed by SeaWiFS imagery, have been on the low end of the typical range over much of the California Current as of the March 18th image.

  • Ron Lynn attended the annual CoastWatch Node Managers meeting in Hawaii last week. There are plans to transition the CoastWatch program into an OceanWatch program wherein high resolution SST imagery will be collected for greatly extended areas of both the North Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans. Ocean color and derived products are to be an important addition to the SST. Plans also include SAR imagery and sea surface height measurements as these sources of data move from developmental to operational. Operational monitoring will be done centrally (Suitland, MD) in the coming years. The regional nodes are expected to either phase out as monitoring sites and to develop satellite research and applications if they find sufficient funding. NESDIS OceanWatch will issue RFP’s for development of satellite products in support of research.
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April 2, 2002

  • Sue Smith continues to work on sections of the HMS draft fishery management plan. She is revising the essential fish habitat sections per the recent EFH final rule effective in February 2002, and preparing a matrix describing essential similarities and differences in the EEZ longline options presented in the plan. The longline issue is one of the most controversial parts of the plan, and intense focus has come to bear on it again since the Pacific Council voted to change its preferred option at its recent meeting in March.

  • The NOAA ships McArthur and David Starr Jordan are making good progress on the sardine EPM cruises. Maps of the sardine, anchovy and jack mackerel distribution can be seen on the web at: /frd/CalCOFI/CurrentCruise/currentcruise.htm.
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March 26, 2002

  • The NOAA Ship McArthur left on March 21st and the NOAA Ship David Starr Jordan will depart on March 28th for a combination sardine DEPM biomass and CalCOFI for the month of April. As part of this work scientists onboard the two ships will be sending their data back on sardine egg distribution generated from the CUFES. The data are being used to generate sardine egg distribution maps which are being posted on our web site on a daily basis: /frd/CalCOFI/CurrentCruise/currentcruise.htm. Watch the distribution of sardine expand as the two vessels progress along the grid lines.

  • Sue Smith is revising EFH sections of the HMS FMP per the Southwest Regional Office's recent comments to the Pacific Council concerning compliance with new standards established in the EFH final rule effective February of this year. On the temperature-habitat issue, the question is not whether the descriptions of temperature habitat were complete enough, but whether a non-static definition of essential fish habitat (e.g., one that is defined by preferred sea temperatures as well as by geographic area) would be easily defined and defensible by law. If we choose a partially non-static over a static definition (set geographic area only), NMFS prefers we beef up the justification for doing so. The general consensus among the team is that this will not be difficult for HMS, especially for most of the subtropical and tropical species. Other new EFH requirements require additional focus on habitat areas of particular concern, effects of various EFH designation options, and effects of fishing activity on EFH.

  • Al Coan will hold the first meeting aimed at developing a highly migratory species data management plan for the SWC and SWR. The meeting will be held at the Pacific Islands Area Office in Honolulu, HI, April 2-4, 2002. Meeting attendees will include HMS data users from the Honolulu Laboratory, La Jolla Laboratory, SWR Long Beach, PIAO office in Honolulu and American Samoa. The group will identify data requirements (management and scientific), data sets, data management issues and solutions that will be included in a HMS data management action plan.

  • Ron Lynn reports that Paul diGiacomo from JPL (Jet Propulsion Lab) and Steven Bograd (PFEL) spent yesterday and part of today initiating a study of ten years of CoastWatch data. They are looking for recurrent features and targeting a census of mesoscale eddies. Lynn is attending a CalCOFI Committee meeting on whether or not CalCOFI should develop a special plan for the predicted El Nino this year today at SIO.

  • Larry Robertson, in consultation with Dr. Dave Leighton, has developed a plan to refurbish the SWFSC aquarium as a broodstock facility for holding the endangered white abalone and for raising their young for future outplanting. In support of these activities the SWR has provided the FRD a contribution to help refurbish the aquarium to develop an abalone broodstock holding facility.

  • Steve Weisberg, Director of SCCWRP, is holding a session on monitoring the Los Angeles Bight at the Southern California Academy of Science meeting this June and has asked CalCOFI to participate in the symposium. Paul Smith has agreed to represent CalCOFI at the meeting.
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March 19, 2002

  • David Au, Sue Smith, Norm Bartoo, and Sam Herrick of the Plan Development Team attended the Advisory Panel and Pacific Council meetings on highly migratory species (HMS) in Sacramento, March 13-15, 2002. The Pacific Council was scheduled to adopt the draft HMS FMP, with finalizing guidance to the Team, at this meeting. However, adoption is now postponed to November.

  • Because of the need for extensive revisions to fulfill NEPA and other federal regulatory requirements and new mandates, the draft FMP is not acceptable as it now stands. Suggested areas of revisions were outlined in comments received from the NMFS Southwest Region, Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and others during the recent January-March 2002 public comment period and include: MSYs listed as unknown; inadequate explanations of essential fish habitats as determined by temperature; the research needed in habitat areas of particular concern; and how bycatch is to be specifically monitored and reduced in HMS fisheries.

  • The Region thought the required re-writing could be finished by June, but considering the scope of the topics needing elaboration and clarification and the discussions needed, and also the need to address written and oral public concerns, that was considered optimistic. The August Council meeting was also judged inopportune because fishermen are out at sea then, so the November Council meeting is the new target.

  • Geoff Moser presented a paper entitled, "Preliminary Report on Ichthyoplankton Collected in Manta (surface) Net Tows on Marine Mammal Surveys in the Eastern Tropical Pacific: 1987–2000" at the Center for Independent Experts (CIE) review of the Protected Resources Division’s Eastern Tropical Pacific Ecosystem Program, March 6–8, at the SWFSC. The report summarized the results of 1,434 manta net tows taken on eight surveys to the ETP that produced a total of 31,508 fish larvae distributed among 314 taxa. The purpose of this study was to increase our knowledge of fish populations adjacent of the California Current region and to contribute data critical to understanding the role that these populations may play in the population dynamics of eastern Pacific marine mammals. Also, the data are important in extending the time series of ETP ichthyoplankton, started with the EASTROPAC Expedition in 1967.

  • Ms. Vera Agostini, a graduate student at the University of Washington, visited FRD at the end of February; she met with several staff members over a two-day period. She also visited the IOD Division of Scripps and attended the PacClimate Meeting in Asilomar Pacific Grove. Ms. Agostini’s interest is conducting environmental analyses on the coast-wide populations of sardine and hake.
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March 5, 2002

  • John Hunter chaired a meeting of ACCEO (Alliance for California Current Ecosystem Observation) in Seattle, WA last Friday. Participants discussed the possibility of a California Current-wide monitoring program and how best to implement it.

  • Dave Holts and John Childers attended the Tagging of Pacific Pelagics (TOPP) workshop in Monterey, Feb 28 – Mar. 1. TOPP is supported by the Census of Marine Life and funded through private and government grants. TOPP will provide up to1500 archival or pop-off tags for deployment on marine pelagics to describe their physical habitat and associated behavior patterns in the eastern north Pacific during the next three years. Participating agencies will provide some matching funds including "in kind" as ship time and data processing. This workshop focused on the species list and the kinds of electronic tags available. The final list of TOPP selected species along with the number and style of tags to be deployed was finalized. Pilot studies may begin as early as June. Species newly added to TOPP as a result of this workshop were: albacore, thresher and mako sharks. Striped marlin were removed as a primary species but may receive some support as the program develops. TOPP selected species are: tuna: albacore, bluefin, yellowfin (up to 200 tags each per year); and blue sharks (150 tags/yr), thresher sharks (50/yr), mako sharks (15/yr), salmon sharks (100/yr), and white sharks (60/yr). Also selected for pilot tagging studies were: swordfish, marlin, basking shark, Mola mola, and Dosidicus (squid).

  • Last September, satellite tags were deployed on striped marlin in cooperation with the Marlin Club of San Diego. Dave Holts reported one of five pop-up tags transmitted temperature, depth and light level data as scheduled on March 1. The tag data indicated this marlin moved southwest over 2,000 nm in the 6 months at liberty. For unknown reasons two tags failed to report, but data on three are being analyzed and will be placed on the Division web site when complete.

  • Nancy Lo was presented the Distinguished Service Award by the San Diego Chapter of the American Statistical Association at a regular chapter dinner meeting on Feb 19th. Lo was recognized for her instrumental role in developing and promoting the chapter as the founding chair of the Nominations Committee and member of the Executive Committee, 1999-2001.

  • Professor C.J. Park, Mathematics Department, SDSU, and Lo have been working on Bayesian estimates of the daily egg production at age zero, an important parameter for the Daily Egg Production Method. The derivation of Bayesian estimates and their variances was completed. The next step is to compare the Bayesian estimates with our conventional nonlinear regression estimates using existing sardine egg data.

  • On February 25-26, Sue Smith traveled to the regional office in Long Beach to attend a briefing given by Kim Rivera, the NMFS Coordinator of the NMFS' National Plan of Action (NPOA) for Reducing the Incidental Catch of Seabirds in Longline Fisheries. Acting Regional Director Rod McInnis and Don Petersen of the Observer Management Program and others also attended some of the briefings. The region is currently preparing some updated material for NPOA-Seabirds. After the HMS Plan is finalized, further annual reports on seabird bycatch assessment in the high seas longline fishery are to be included in the annual SAFE report for that FMP.

  • John Butler, Russ Vetter, Chuck Oliver, Larry Robertson and John Wagner visited Dave Leighton at the Carlsbad Aquatic Farms on Feb. 20 to observe abalone aquaculture procedures. The visit provided many useful insights to breeding abalone in the laboratory. Butler completed a draft of our permit to take white abalone and submitted it to Headquarters.

  • Al Coan completed the February submission of U.S. central-western Pacific purse seine fisheries data from the South Pacific Regional Tuna Treaty to the Forum Fisheries Agency. The December submission covers all logbook, landings, length and species composition data received between October 1, 2001 and February 1, 2002.

  • Richard Charter traveled to Seattle February 18-20 to see the full-size mockup of the deck layout for the new fisheries research vessel that will be shared between the Northwest Center and the Southwest Center. The mockup was not set up correctly and has since been changed and is available for viewing. The rough plans need to be finalized to estimate the budget for the FY04 budget cycle.

  • Russ Vetter attended the Western Groundfish Conference February 11-15 in Ocean Shores, Washington. He presented results on the population genetic structure of copper and brown rockfish and how the high degree of genetic differences between outer coast and Puget Sound populations of these depleted stocks bear on their status under the ESA. An excellent symposium on progress in net design and bycatch reduction methods in groundfish fisheries was the high point of the conference.
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February 20, 2002

  • Paul Crone, John Hunter, Ray Conser, Gary Sakagawa, and John Childers attended the Winter Board Meeting of the American Fishermen’s Research Foundation (AFRF) that was held on February 14th here at the Southwest Fisheries Science Center (SWFSC). The AFRF typically holds this meeting at the SWFSC and generally addresses Foundation-related concerns, including reviewing research proposals. The SWFSC began discussions regarding conducting collaborative archival tagging research with AFRF—John Hunter provided general information regarding potential funding sources. Specifically, proposal and work outlines were presented for deploying up to 120 archival tags later in the year (September 2002). Federal research monies, along with AFRF funds, will be used to conduct this research. The pilot year of a long-term archival tag project was completed late last year, with 15 tags being deployed roughly 60 miles off Point Conception in November 2001. The primary objective of the overall tagging study is to collect movement-related information on young albacore. That is, the 3- to 5-yr old fish are believed to travel great distances (trans-Pacific Ocean); however, details regarding these migrations are lacking, given routes could be only crudely determined based on conventional ‘dart’ tagging research conducted in the past. Very limited archival tag research on albacore has been conducted thus far (essentially, Japan and the SWFSC), given tag designs have been largely constructed for larger scombrids, billfish, and sharks. However, recent electronic-based advances in technology have produced smaller, more reliable tags (e.g., battery size and longevity) that should be ‘hitting the markets’ by this summer, in time for our research plans. Additionally, Paul Crone discussed the ongoing port sampling project (biological data collection), industry-assisted biological data collection project, and the logbook data collection project, all of which provide valuable information for developing time series used to assess the status of the albacore population.

  • Ron Lynn gave a presentation of his recent studies [co-authors: S. Bograd (PFEL) and T. Chereskin (SIO)] at the AGU Ocean Sciences meeting in Honolulu. Based upon two CTD surveys, late-winter 1995 and early-spring 1995, the authors demonstrated that the spring coastal upwelling jet develops independently of the winter California Current jet. Their conjecture is that the California Current is regenerated each spring as a coastal upwelling jet. Subsequently, it moves offshore and by late winter the jet has progressed to 350 km or more offshore. This replaces the notion that the CC moves onshore in spring with the idea that a new jet is developed each year.

  • Sue Smith worked on revisions to the longline section of Chapter 9 of the draft Highly Migratory Species Fishery Management Plan, and sent comments to Larry Six. She also participated in a teleconference meeting of the North Pacific Albatross Working Group on February 19.
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February 12, 2002

  • Richard Charter attended the fisheries research vessel design review meeting at Halter Marine Inc. in Gulfport, MS. The design review was for the first vessel which will go to the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. The contract with Halter Marine has the option to build three more vessels. The second vessel is scheduled to go to the Northeast Center and the third will be shared between the Northwest and Southwest Centers. The keel laying ceremony for the first vessel is being planned for late May or early June. The scheduled launch date for the first vessel is January 2004. The Northwest and Southwest Centers are working on the lab designs for the number 3 vessel, with a full-sized mockup to be built in the Seattle area in late February. Anyone interested in seeing the latest lab designs or the mockup in Seattle should contact Charter.

  • On Tuesday the NOAA Ship David Star Jordan exchanged scientific personnel at Santa Barbra. They returned to San Diego yesterday after completing the winter CalCOFI cruise.

  • The NOAA ship New Horizon departed on Friday for a 10-day ichthyoplankton survey of the cowcod conservation area. This is the first cruise of a three-year baseline study of the cowcod conservation area.

  • Ray Conser served as an outside reviewer at the meeting of the Transboundary Resources Assessment Committee (TRAC), 5-8 February 2002, in Woods Hole, MA. U.S. and Canadian stock assessment scientists presented recently completed assessments of the Georges Bank (transboundary) cod stock. The TRAC meeting was successful in that its primary goal – to reach consensus on the most appropriate assessment model for Georges Bank cod – was achieved by week’s end.
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February 5, 2002

  • As members of the Highly Migratory Species (HMS) FMP Development Team, David Au and Sue Smith presented a Power Point overview of the draft FMP to the public for their comment on Saturday, February 2 in San Pedro, CA. Au, Smith and Dale Squires attended a hearing on Monday night, February 4 at San Diego, Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute.

  • Squires gave an overview presentation of the FMP and fielded questions from the public about the FMP This was the last public hearing in a series of seven held along the west coast to receive public comment on the draft plan before the Pacific Council considers adopting it in March. The public also has the opportunity to provide comment to the Council during the March 11-15, 2002 Council meeting, which will be held in Sacramento, CA. Written comments received by March 5, 2002 will be provided to the Council prior to the meeting. Sam Herrick attended the January 31 public hearing in Eureka.

  • Ron Lynn, Steven Bograd (PFEL) and Teresa Cheriskin (SIO) are preparing a presentation titled "Characteristics and Forcing of the Spring Transition off California" to be given Feb. 12 at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu. The Spring Transition refers to the rapid and dynamic physical and biological changes in the coastal ocean due to the onset of upwelling winds. The timing and strength of these changes impact the distribution of spawning of coastal pelagics.

  • David Demer (SWFSC's Advanced Survey Technologies Program; AST) has been collaborating with Jim Churnside (NOAA's Environmental Technologies Laboratory) and Behzad Mahmoudi (Florida Marine Research Institute) to study the accuracy of airborne lidar for surveying epipelagic fish stocks. This week, the team submitted a manuscript entitled"A Comparison of Lidar and Echo Sounder Measurements of Fish Schools in the Gulf of Mexico" to the ICES Journal of Marine Science. In December 2000, NOAA's fisheries lidar system was used to locate schools of fish from an airplane off the west coast of Florida and measure their volume backscattering coefficients at a wavelength of 532 nm. Concurrently, a 208-kHz echo sounder was deployed from a small boat to measure the acoustical volume backscattering coefficients of the same schools. Seven schools were characterized with both the lidar and the echo sounder. The results of this study indicate that lidar is a suitable tool for rapidly surveying the distributions and abundances of epipelagic fish stocks in the shallow waters off the west coast of Florida, without the biases of fish avoidance reaction potentially affecting acoustical and trawl surveys.

  • Demer and Stephane Conti of AST investigated a model that was recently proposed to predict the target strengths (TS) of Antarctic krill versus incidence angle (beta) and submitted a manuscript entitled "Reconciling theoretical versus empirical target strengths of krill; effects of phase variability on the distorted wave Born approximation," to the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America. In this study, the accuracy of the Distorted Wave Born Approximation (DWBA) model is further explored. Results indicate that phase variability in the scatter from elements of a discretized bent cylinder (krill model) causes a dramatic flattening in the side-lobe regions of TS(beta), while negligibly affecting the main scattering lobe. These results are consistent with the krill TS measurements in McGehee et al. (1998). Thus, by accounting for phase-noise in the solution of the DWBA model, a much more accurate and practical tool is developed for predicting krill TS.

  • The AST supplied a custom calibration apparatus to the Honolulu Laboratory for their new multi-frequency echosounding system. The system is a slightly refined version of that routinely used by the U.S. AMLR Program, the SWFSC/La Jolla Lab, and the Sea Fisheries Research Institute in Cape Town, South Africa. The apparatus weighs about 300 pounds, including motorized outrigger gear, cables, three 38.1 mm tungsten carbide calibration spheres, and Echoview software.

  • The AST also supplied the AFSC/MACE with a custom echosounder multiplexer for use in comparing performances of the Simrad EK500 and the newer Simrad EK60 echosounders. The device, which was successfully installed aboard the NOAA Ship Miller Freeman, allows two echosounders to share the same hull-mounted transducer complement. The MACE Division's Chris Wilson reports that the device is working well and will be used during their annual pollock surveys.
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January 29, 2002

  • Paul Smith and Geoff Moser are working on a paper for the Progress in Oceanography series on the California Current. The Pacific sardine collapsed in 1947 and withdrew from the entire North Temperate coast of North America. The population was brought under strict regulation of landings and marketing by 1974 and began a recovery in the latter half of the 1970s. The population spread outside the Southern California Bight in 1991 and by 1992 had reinvaded the habitats along the Central California to Alaska coastlines, becoming a dominant species off British Columbia by the late 1990s. We discuss the fates of five other commercial species and several non-commercial fish species over the same time period.

  • A cowcod baseline ichthyoplankton cruise, to be carried out in cooperation with the NWFSC, is scheduled to be conducted 8-17 February on the New Horizon (a SIO/UNOLS vessel). The objective of the cruise is to determine the abundance of cowcod larvae in the Cowcod Conservation Area and to establish a relation between cowcod larvae in the closed conservation zone and the CalCOFI annual abundance index. The plan is to carry out such a cruise for three years beginning in 2002.

  • John Butler, John Wagner and Ben Maurer returned January 25 from a 19-day Essential Squid Spawning Habitat cruise on the R/V Mako. Twenty-seven ROV transects, 81 sediment samples and two 24-hr spawning observations were accomplished. Positions of all transects and sediment samples were recorded and will be overlain on multi-beam and sidescan sonar habitat maps. Large spawning beds were surveyed at Santa Catalina, Anacapa and Santa Cruz Island.

  • Sue Smith has been working with Dave Au on a reply to an inquiry on their demographic method for estimating rebound potential in sharks. She also reports that the California State's Moss Landing Marine Laboratory (MLML) has recently received approval for receiving federal funding for a shark fishery research center at MLML. They are now investigating various projects with which to get involved, and will be contacting us concerning ideas on possible projects.

  • On Thursday Dave Griffith, Ron Dotson and Amy Hays departed on the David Starr Jordan to do the winter CalCOFI cruise. The sailing was delayed 2 days due to the ship being late coming out of the ship yard. Dave reports that all is going well and that they have had good weather so far. They are due back in San Diego on February 14.

  • The FRD has scheduled an albacore tagging cruise using a combination of archival and conventional tags for September 2002 using an albacore fishing vessel.
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January 15, 2002

 

  • John Butler reports that the ROV squid cruise on the R/V Mako is going well. He reports finding a lot of squid eggs on the far side of Catalina Island and at Salta Verde. Today they were at Lobster Bay and still finding squid eggs but not as many as at the other sites. The 20-day cruise is scheduled to end on January 26.

  • On Tuesday Valerie Growney started work on the cowcod project for the Fisheries Resources Division. She will be working in Dr. Geoff Moser's lab sorting plankton samples and also going to sea on the cowcod baseline survey cruise in February.

  • Professor Robert McKelvey visited Dale Squires to work on a joint project on ocean governance (along with Ted Groves, Economics Dept. of UCSD, Jim Joseph, and Russ Moll, SIO and Director of California Sea Grant). Squires is continuing to work with Chris Reid of the Forum Fishing Agency to estimate fishing capacity and productivity growth for tuna purse seiners in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.
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January 8, 2002

  • Dale Squires and Chris Reid, Forum Fishing Agency, are calculating fishing capacity and technical change and productivity growth of all tuna purse seine fleets. The results will be presented to the South Pacific Tuna Treaty meetings in Kiribati in March.

  • John Butler, John Wagner, and Ben Maurer will be at sea from Jan 7-25 surveying essential squid spawning habitat using the ROV on board the CDFG R/V Mako.

  • In preparation for this season's sardine population work, Ron Dotson has adapted an Australian gill net design for capturing sardines at sea. Given the rough weather at sardine spawning time, we have yet to get adult samples from the new (or renewed) spawning area off the central California coastline where the vast bulk of the recovering sardine population spawns. Most of the population work on Pacific sardine off California was done after the virtual collapse of the northern limb of the stock. The fishery-collected specimens have all been taken within a few miles of the coast and are young newly-matured fish prior to their seasonal migration offshore for spawning and to Alaska for feeding on the rich Pacific Northwest summer habitat. The old management model will continue to be used until the new population parameters and a migration model are in place.

  • David Demer completed and submitted a manuscript describing "An Estimate of Error for the CCAMLR 2000 Estimate of Krill Biomass," to the Special CCAMLR 2000 Issue of Deep Sea Research. During the austral summer of 1999/2000, the Antarctic Treaty Organization's Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR), sponsored the third and most extensive multi-ship, multi-national acoustical survey of krill dispersion and abundance in the Antarctic Peninsular Area of the Southern Ocean (FAO statistical area 48). CCAMLR's Working Group on Environmental Monitoring and Management requires estimates of the standing stock of Euphausia superba and the uncertainty about that estimate, to manage the krill fishery. Traditionally, estimates of error in surveyed biomass are limited to that caused by sampling. The aim of this work was to estimate the total error in the CCAMLR 2000 krill biomass estimate, including both sampling and measurement errors. Potential sources of measurement bias were also explored and discussed. Most of the components of measurement error are covariant. Consequently, the total error in the CCAMLR 2000 estimate of krill biomass was collectively estimated using a Monte Carlo simulation which assumes independent estimates of krill biomass are derived from acoustical backscatter measurements at three frequencies (38, 120, and 200 kHz). This novel method showed that the overall coefficient of variation (10.2<CV<11.6%; 95% confidence interval) is not significantly different from the sampling variance alone (CV=11.4%). These results show that the measurement variance is negligible relative to the sampling variance due to the large number of measurements averaged to derive the ultimate biomass estimate. However, some potential sources of bias (eg. stemming from uncertainties in the TS model, the krill length-to-weight model, the species delineation method, bubble attenuation, signal thresholding, and survey area definition) may be more appreciable components of measurement uncertainty.

  • The Advanced Survey Technologies Program (AST) has recently produced another manuscript titled "Detection and characterization of yellowfin and bluefin tuna using passive acoustical techniques," by Scott Allen and David A. Demer and has submitted it for publication in Fisheries Research. This paper presents the first evidence, to their knowledge, that these tuna routinely generate low frequency sound pulses. The sounds are associated with cough-like behavior that apparently resonates their swimbladders. The behavior may simply be used to clear their gills after feeding, but the exact purpose(s) and sound-generation mechanism(s) are yet to be determined. However, at short ranges, these low-frequency sounds may be exploited for passive acoustical detection and behavioral observations of these fish. Moreover, the center frequencies of the pulses may provide a proxy-measure for the sizes of the swimbladders and thus the fish. This study provides valuable information for Fisheries Managers and Tuna Biologists interested in a potential means of automated stock assessment, fish size estimation, and behavioral monitoring. The new methods may be of particular interest to those involved in the newly expanding tuna aquaculture efforts. Allen was recently awarded his Master's degree in Ocean Engineering from the University of New Hampshire, in part due to his research on this subject while at SWFSC.

  • AST has designed and contracted the fabrication of a transducer multiplexer unit for the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. The multiplexer should allow direct comparison of data from the Simrad EK500 and the newer Simrad EK60 echosounders, both using the same transducers. Demer plans to assist with the installation and testing of the multiplexer aboard R/V Miller Freeman. If the data from the EK60 prove superior to those from the EK500, the EK60 may replace the EK500 on some NMFS vessels.
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January 2, 2002

  • Ray Conser participated in the NMFS Stock Assessment Workshop in Santa Cruz (December 11-13) and presented a paper entitled "Pacific Sardine- a rebuilding success story but will the success continue? A test of management sticktoitvism under an environmentally-base control rule" written by Conser, Kevin Hill (CDF&G) and Paul Crone.

  • Sue Smith submitted the manuscript "Age validated leopard shark, Triakis semifasciata, recaptured after 20 years" to Fishery Bulletin for consideration as a note in that publication. The paper recently received Center approval and is co-authored with Bob Mitchell and Dan Fuller.
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Last modified: 12/24/2014