2004 FRD News, Meetings, and Visitors

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

December 20, 2004

  • John Butler has finished identifying fish in 1,836 digital photographs taken with the ROV on the last three cruises on the M/V Outer Limits. Each photograph is geo-referenced with date, time, latitude, longitude and depth. Dave Demer and Deanna Pinkard are overlaying ROV track lines on split-beam sonar maps of rockfish schools. The digital photos and video tapes, which are currently being analyzes by Scott Mau, David Murfin and Deanna Pinkard will soon be used to assign species compositions to the rockfish schools mapped by Dave Demer on the NOAA ship David Starr Jordan.
  • A panel met on December 14-15 at Southwest Fisheries in La Jolla, CA to review the survey method and analysis of a transect/submersible survey completed in 2002 in the Cowcod Conservation Area. The survey results were presented by Mary Yoklavich, Milton Love and Karin Forney. The review panel consisted of David Sampson (Oregon State University), Michael Kingsley (CIE reviewer) and Tim Gerrodette (NMFS). Kevin Piner (NMFS) acted as the chairman and reporter for the meeting.
  • Nancy Lo, Beverly Macewicz and David Griffith are preparing a manuscript on “The spawning biomass of Pacific sardine from 1994-2004 off California” to be submitted to the sardine symposium of CalCOFI Reports.
  • Nancy Lo was invited to attend a workshop on the daily egg production method for the spawning biomass of sardine and anchovy off Chile from January 10-16, 2005. This workshop was organized by the Department of Oceanography, University of Concepcion, Chile.

November 2, 2004

  • Ron Dotson, Amy Hays, Dimitry Abramenkoff and Noelle Bowlin will be departing on the R/V Roger Revelle on November 2 to complete the fall CalCOFI cruise. The cruise will last 20 days and they will return to San Diego on November 21.


October 12, 2004

  • The ETP Shark Cruise departed Acapulco September 21st and began fishing outside Mexico=s EEZ on September 22. The cruise plan was to travel roughly southwest toward Clipperton Island then north, fishing during the day and transiting during the night. Night transits covered roughly 100-120 miles and followed a stair-step pattern of alternate latitudinal and longitudinal transits between stations. Typically two, 4-hour deployments of up to 150 hooks over 1.5 miles of longline were made per day. In all, 30 sets were made with over 15,000 hook hours.

    The positives were the gear worked well and caught a wide variety of tropical species with almost no mortality of target fish species and no bycatch of turtles, marine mammals or birds. Circle hooks and mackerel were used in accordance with NOAA=s bycatch reduction guidelines. Catch included silky, oceanic whitetip and pelagic thresher sharks, sailfish, striped marlin, mahi, and black skipjack.

    A total of three oceanic whitetip and four silky sharks were equipped with one or both types of satellite transmitters (SPOT and PAT tags). Almost all animals were given a conventional NMFS tag, an oxytetracycline injection for aging studies, and tissue samples for DNA and tissue culture were taken. The handling platform worked flawlessly and provided a safe and secure working environment for the scientists and the sharks. Worries about heat and hooking stress in tropical sharks appeared to be unfounded and most animals came up in excellent condition after the four-hour soak.

    On the negative side, and in keeping with indications from directed fisheries, incidental take by sportfishing camps, purse seine bycatch records, and studies in other parts of the world’s oceans: we experienced low catch rates and encountered mostly small animals, including neonates. No adult animals capable of spawning were encountered for either silky or whitetip in either longline or directed bait fishing. A total of 25 sharks were captured in 30 sets. There are many possible explanations for low catch rates, and this was at best a preliminary study, but it is worrisome given the effectiveness of the gear off California.

    To date, two of the three SPOT tags that were placed on oceanic whitetips are transmitting and providing the first location information of this type for ocean whitetip. In summary, the system of longline fishing with subsequent handling on the shark platform appears to be a safe and effective means of gathering information on the biology and population status of pelagic sharks in the ETP. This cruise demonstrates the feasibility of integrating this type of survey into ongoing studies of pelagic ecosystems should opportunities and resources permit.

  • Dave Holts reports that his group is currently monitoring the 5 satellite tags put out by Russ Vetter on the ETP shark cruise. During the shark cruises of June and July several thresher and mako sharks were tagged with OTC. In the last week two sharks were recaptured and the OTC-marked vertebrae were returned to the lab in support of ongoing age and growth studies. In addition, last week a pop-up tag released off a mako shark that was tagged in July. The shark group currently has the transmitted data, which is captured at 4 hour intervals. However, when the tag is returned from Wildlife Computers, they are pleased to report they will then have the full amount of archived data, which is captured in 2-minute intervals.
  • Sue Smith completed a draft report of first-year preliminary results of the thresher shark nursery ground and pre-recruit index study. During the pilot year FY 2004, six gillnet and ten longline sampling trips were completed as part of an effort to determine the alongshore and inshore-offshore distribution of neonate common thresher sharks in the Southern California Bight. Longliners sampled five bottom depth strata between Santa Barbara and San Diego to determine the depth distribution of pups; a gill net vessel sampled alongshore distribution between Point Conception and Laguna Beach, including areas not previously sampled by the fishery. The goals are to identify core nursery areas of this species and to ultimately develop a fishery-independent pre-recruit index of abundance by periodically sampling 0-year pups in their core nursery grounds. The work is in support of observer systems to provide measures of relative and absolute abundance for stock assessment models, in this case, for the U.S. West Coast population of common thresher shark. A total of 103 threshers (including 34 neonates) were taken in the longline sampling (8,864 hooks deployed on 124 sets) with a CPUE of 11.6 threshers per 1,000 hooks (3.8 neonates/1,000 hooks). A total of 83 threshers (including 37 neonates) was taken on 29 gill net sets, with a CPUE of 2.9 per set (1.3 neonates). During this initial sampling year, the gill net appeared to be the more efficient sampling gear for young neonates, and the majority of netted sharks were in better condition than expected, especially with a 3-4 hour set time. Preliminary results suggest the neonates prefer the shallowest depth strata, but additional sampling may be needed in the deeper depth strata, which were not as intensively sampled. Sampling was also hampered in fall of 2003 by the presence of an intense red tide event in sampling areas. Overall longline catch per set (ranging from 25 to 100 hooks deployed per set) was 0.8 threshers (0.3 neonates). This rate improves if one examines the non-red tide sampling and shallower sets. Of the 43 longline sets made by the contract vessel Outer Banks in 50 fm or less during non-red tide sampling (May and August 2004), 11 (26%) were positive for thresher neonates. Of the 26 gill net sets in water 50 fm or less made by the F/V Tytan during the period September 24, 2003 and September 2, 2004, 9 sets (35%) were positive for neonate thresher sharks (mean=4.75 neonates). During FY 2005, longline sampling needs to focus on standardizing hook size, bait type, hooks per set, resampling areas that previously sampled only with larger hooks/baits, and spreading out sampling effort more evenly among the five depth strata to strengthen depth comparison results. Driftnet sampling will focus on expanding effort into the remaining areas south of Laguna Beach and around the Channel Islands.

October 5, 2004

  • Russ Vetter, Suzy Kohin, Rand Rasmussen, and Darlene Ramon are currently onboard the NOAA ship David Starr Jordan, which departed Acapulco in late September. They are attempting to tag oceanic sharks in accordance with their Ocean Exploration grant. At last communication the team had not caught many sharks, and very few of those captured were more than a year old. These young sharks are too small to attach satellite tags on. Vetter, Kohin, Rasmussen, and Ramon return to San Diego on October 15th.


September 8, 2004

  • The NOAA ship David Starr Jordan returned September 6 from a 10-day white abalone survey at Tanner Bank. Forty abalone sitings were made on 24 randomly selected transect lines. Data from the cruise are being analyzed to confirm species identification and calibrate the area searched during each transect prior to making density estimates. A survey of Tanner Bank in 2002 found 198 white abalone. Data will be further analyzed to determine whether this represents a decline or is within the confidence intervals of the survey.
  • Dales Squires, Heidi Gjersten, Peter Dutton, Mahfuz Ahmed (WorldFish Center), and Ted Groves (UC San Diego) attended a meeting in Malaysia where the Bellagio Action Plan on sea turtles was adapted for implementation in Malaysia.

August 31, 2004

  • Al Coan, Jim Kinane and Ken Wallace attended the second annual meeting of the Fisheries Information Systems group at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center in Seattle on August 16-20, 2004. Al Coan gave a progress report on three FY04 projects: Longline observer database transfer of technology from PIFSC; permits database for the HMS FMP permits; transfer of technology from S&T headquarters; and transfer of HMS legacy data to the SWFSC HMS data model. Five new proposals were submitted for consideration in 2005: Continuation of legacy data transfer; electronic logbooks; electronic length sampling at ports; interface of the HMS data model with PacFIN and WPacFIN; and reconciliation of logbook data and landings data (mainly PacFIN).
  • John Butler, Deanna Pinkard, Scott Mau, Chuck Oliver, David Murfin, Richard Rowlett, Jim Cotton, and Mike Force departed on August 28 on the NOAA ship David Starr Jordan to conduct a deepwater survey of abalone habitat. They are surveying rocky habitat on Tanner Bank from 30 to 60 meters, conducting 1 km transects with an ROV. To date they have completed 6 transects and have seen 8 abalone. The stratified design has started with some of the deeper stations and effort will increase in the most dense strata in the days to come. The Jordan is scheduled to return to San Diego on September 6th.

August 17, 2004

  • The longline portion of the thresher shark pre-recruit survey is proceeding well with good catches of juvenile and sub-adult thresher sharks. On board, Rand Rasmussen and Sean Suk report more catches of young threshers off Oceanside and San Diego than were seen off Ventura. They also reported moderate catches of mako sharks. They will be working off Santa Barbara during the last days of the survey, which ends on Monday, August 23.
  • Over the weekend, Dave Holts received the tag and vertebrae from a mako shark tagged with OTC in June of 2001. This is the longest OTC recovery from a mako since the growth and aging study began in 2001. This and other marked vertebrae collected may help resolve the questions concerning the deposition of annual growth bands in mako sharks.
  • The recent abalone cruise on the R/V David Starr Jordan spent 8 days at San Clemente Island surveying prime habitat for white abalone. Working with the Navy’s cooperation, we were able to survey for 7 of those 8 days. During that time we made 18 dives for a total of 27 hours of bottom time. Only 6 white abalone were found, three of which were on the same rock. Rikk Kvitek, California State University Monterey Bay, on contract to the SWFSC mapped approximately 4,000 hectares of potential habitat during the same time period. During the one day that all areas around San Clemente Island were actively being used by the Navy, we inspected the anchors of a mooring buoy and a hydrophone array for the Navy. This cooperation may facilitate future activities at the island.

July 27, 2004

  • Sue Smith and Dave Holts met with Steve Kemper, freelance writer for Smithsonian Magazine, who is writing an article on sharks and shark fisheries in the U.S. The article is scheduled for publication in 2005. Dave Holts has also agreed to serve on the organizing committee for the 4th International Billfish Symposium scheduled for November 2005 in Avalon, Catalina Island. The first organizing meeting is next week in Avalon.

  • Bev Macewicz, Elaine Acuna, Noelle Bowlin and Dave Griffith returned on July 25 from a 20-day charter cruise aboard the F/V Frosti. The survey collected adult Pacific sardines using trawl nets and sardine eggs with the installed CUFES. In addition, environmental data were collected using a Seabird Seacat at 81 stations and a continuous underway system collected temperature and salinity. The survey was conducted from the California - Oregon border to the Washington - Canadian border and out 150 nautical miles. The region was characterized by unseasonably warm SSTs that may have been the cause for the low egg count. A total of 58 surface tows (27 positive for sardines) were completed and 892 adults and sub-adults were processed. This was the third of four cruises conducted aboard the F/V Frosti and it is always a pleasure to work with the crew of this incredibly efficient vessel.

  • Sue Smith and Darlene Ramon will be participating in a thresher shark sampling cruise off Newport and Huntington Beach July 29- July 31 aboard the contract fishing vessel Tytan.

  • Tim Lynch, Jervis Bay Marine Park, NSW, Australia, will spend one month at the SWFSC working with John Butler. Tim will also participate in the upcoming deep water abalone survey on the NOAA ship David Starr Jordan, August 2-11.

July 20, 2004

  • Sue Smith is near completion of a special division project on a description California krill and is preparing two manucripts to return to the production editor of "Sharks of the Open Ocean." On July 19, she also met with Mr. Chi-Chao Liu from Taiwan's Fisheries Agency (Deep Sea Fisheries Division) to discuss U.S. Pacific Coast highly migratory species bycatch issues. Mr. Liu will also be visiting the Southwest Regional Office to discuss bycatch and how NMFS and the Pacific Council address bycatch problems.

  • Dave Holts met with a National Geographic photographer this week to review the 2004 shark survey cruise pictures. In addition, this week he received a conventional tag recapture from a bluefin tuna. The tuna was released off Cedros Island, Baja, Mexico and recaptured in the Sea of Japan after 5 years at liberty. It traveled a net distance of 5,115 nautical miles and increased in mass from 23 kg to 175 kg and in total length from 100 cm to 209 cm.

  • Nancy Lo reported on work to estimate the annual spawning biomass of Pacific sardine. One of the major parameters to be estimated is the daily egg production from ichthyoplankton samples of the CalCOFI survey which covered sea area from San Diego to San Francisco, for a total area of 320,000 km2. Based on the ichthyoplankton samples of CalCOFI cruises from March 23 - April 25, 2004 aboard the R/V New Horizon and NOAA ship David Starr Jordan, the initial estimate of egg production at age 0 of Pacific sardine is 3.77 eggs/0.05m2 for the high density area of 68,204 km2 compared to the estimate of 5.82 eggs/0.05m2 from the high density area of 82,578 km2 in 2003. Sardine eggs were most concentrated north of Point Conception, which has historically been an area of high concentration. Therefore the daily egg production off California in 2004 is slightly lower than that in 2003. The mean sea temperature for the positive CalVET tows is 13.4̊C compared to 13.8̊C in 2003. The final estimate of spawning biomass of Pacific sardine will be computed after the estimates of adult reproductive parameters are available in August.

July 13, 2004

  • The 2004 shark survey was completed July 7. One to three fishing sets were conducted during each day. A total of 6,692 hooks were fished at the 38 sampling stations. Captured sharks were tagged with conventional spaghetti tags, satellite transmitting tags and tetracycline. Catch included 88 mako, 127 blue, 2 common thresher shark and 59 pelagic rays. Overall catch rate was 0.012 per 100 hook-hours for mako and 0.015 per 100 hook-hours for blue sharks. The CPUEs for mako and blue sharks were slightly lower than in 2002 and 2003.

    In addition, 62 sharks were tagged with conventional tags for movement data, 61 marked with OTC for age and growth studies, and 74 DNA samples were collected. Three adult blue sharks were tagged with a total of six satellite archival tags in a cooperative TOPP project to define the physical habitat of Pacific blue sharks. Four satellite pop-up tags and nine satellite transmitter tags were deployed on 10 individual mako sharks in a continuing series of habitat, migration and condition studies. Two common thresher sharks were also tagged with satellite pop-up and transmitter tags. Early results indicate blue and mako sharks surface briefly and data transmissions are providing temperature and location data daily. Five pelagic rays were collected by UCLA graduate students for growth and aging studies. Monterey Bay Aquarium staff tested a new transport system designed to move live mako sharks to the Monterey Bay Aquarium for display purposes.

    SWFSC staff members were trained in shark handling techniques, tagging protocols and release procedures for new projects to be carried out during the second and third legs of the South trip. A contract photographer from National Geographic documented the survey operations during Leg 1 of the survey.

  • Two visitors from Taiwan arrived earlier this month. Professor Ming-An Lee, Department of Environmental Biology and Fishery Science, National Taiwan Ocean University and Mr. Chi-Chao Liu, Specialist, Deep Sea Fisheries Division, Fisheries Agency, Taiwan. Professor Lee will be here from July to October, working on biological oceanography in collaboration with Christian Reiss and Nancy Lo to study the relationship of fishery and remote sensing data (SST and Chl-a pigment data) from Taiwan, in particular, anchovy larvae data from commercial catches collected in the last 20 years. Mr. Liu will be here from July 2 to 30. Mr. Liu is interested in pelagic fishery management, especially for tuna fisheries in the Pacific. He has been talking to many scientists in the FRD, IATTC and CDFG. He also wishes to talk to staff in the PRD regarding sea turtles. He wants to thank all the people who have taken time to talk to him.

  • Nancy Lo and Paul Smith started drafting a chapter for a book entitled Fish Reproductive Biology and Recruitment under the editorship of T. Jakobsen, M. Fogarty, B. Megrey and E. Moksness to be published by Blackwell Publishing in 2006. The chapter that Smith and Lo are responsible for is Chapter 6: "Egg, larvae and juvenile surveys." The drafts are expected to be completed at the end of this December.

  • Lo started data analysis for eggs and larvae from the March-April CalCOFI survey for the estimation of spawning biomass of Pacific sardine off California. The final estimate of the spawning biomass will be available in August. The data for estimating adult reproductive parameters are yet to be processed.

  • On July 6 Dave Griffith, Elaine Acuna, Bev Macewicz and Noelle Bowlin departed from Astoria, OR on the chartered F/V Frosti to do a 20-day adult sardine trawling cruise off the Washington-Oregon coast. Dave has reported getting a few sardine eggs and positive sardine trawls in the inshore area of Gray's Harbor - Columbia River. The water temperatures are in the 17C range.

  • On July 12 Ron Dotson, Amy Hays and Sue Manion departed on the NOAA Ship David Starr Jordan for the 17-day summer CalCOFI cruise.


June 22, 2004

  • John Butler calibrated the video camera and lasers on the ROV in preparation for the upcoming deep water abalone cruise. Butler also interviewed candidates for the fishery biologist position in support of abalone and rockfish surveys.
  • Sam Herrick is visiting Professor Rognvaldur Hannesson of the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration in Bergen, Norway. Herrick and Hannesson are organizing an international workshop on the economics of small pelagics and climate to be held in September in Portsmouth, United Kingdom.
  • As a member NMFS CITES task force, this week Sue Smith provided comments to NMFS headquarters’ CITES coordinators on the proposal by Madagascar and Australia to include the white shark on CITES Appendix II. This would include an annotation that states that a zero annual export quota would be established for this species. The white shark is nowhere in the world abundant, has an extremely low rebound potential, and is mostly sought after (legally or illegally) for its curio or trophy value. The unique morphology of its teeth should make identification in the trade flow a relatively easy matter.
  • The NOAA ship David Starr Jordan departed Friday morning on the shark abundance survey after a two-day delay due to mechanical problems. Dave Holt, Rand Rasmussen, Darlene Ramon, Chuck Oliver and Sean Suk will be on leg one which ends on June 25.

June 8, 2004

  • Sue Smith is working on FY 2004 contracts for vessel and field biologist and fishery liaison work for the thresher stock assessment improvement project. Last week, the contract fishing vessel Tytan departed Santa Barbara for six days of thresher shark neonate sampling areas off Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and Orange counties. Contract biologist John Richards (Sea Grant, U.C. Davis) is the observing field biologist on this cruise. The vessel is scheduled to return to port June 8. The purpose of this sampling, which began in September 2003, is to sample neonate and young juvenile thresher sharks to identify their alongshore distribution and core nursery grounds, and to ultimately develop a fishery-independent stock recruitment index based on annual neonate sampling. Stomach and genetic samples from sharks are also being collected.

  • Last week, Roger Hewitt and Dale Squires met with Bill Sardinha and Itchy Cileu of the tuna purse seine industry and Peter Flournoy and John LaGrange of the American Fishermen’s Research Foundation. Previously, Hewitt and Squires met with Paul Krampe of United Tuna Cooperative.

May 26, 2004

  • Nancy Lo is preparing for the upcoming International Chinese Statistical Association 2004 Applied Statistics Symposium, June 6-9 at the Marriott hotel in La Jolla. Close to 250 attendees from the United States, and Far East countries are expected.


May 11, 2004

  • Nancy Lo provided to Chuck Oliver and John Butler a preliminary analysis using principal components analysis of the characteristics of habitat for white abalone based on ROV observations taken at Tanner Bank on July 10-17, 2002. Although the sighting frequency of white abalone was low, the habitats with simple, flat sea floor, and much brown alga, (e.g., Laminaria, Agarum, and Dityotaceae) seem to be the area where white abalone are likely to be. Future surveys are warranted to test this hypothesis.

  • Oliver developed a mockup for a Pacific Coastal Observing System (PaCOS) website to deliver documents for use during the May 17-18 meeting of the Board of Governors at the Center, added documents and Power Point presentations to Dale Squires’ recent Buyback Workshop website, and completed the offsite notification modifications to the Division's website.

  • Sue Smith reported that an old publication she co-authored with Jim Squire, "Anglers' Guide to the U.S. Pacific Coast Marine Fish, Fishing Grounds, and Facilities" may be incorporated into a new NOAA project now underway to compile a socio-economic profile of the fisheries within the three central California marine sanctuaries. Ecotrust was hired as a contractor by the Monterey Bay Sanctuary Foundation to assist in the collection and analysis of fisheries-related socio-economic data, in support of the Joint Management Plan Review for consideration of Special Marine Protected Areas, in close cooperation with the NOAA Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary program. They hope to digitize the maps in the Angler's Guide and use the maps to constrain the information reported in the landing statistics. Smith has agreed to advise on the project with regard to the maps and data sources.

  • Dave Holts, Rand Rasmussen and Sean Suk completed the longline survey for juvenile thresher sharks this week. In all, 19 sampling sets deployed 2000 hooks between Long Beach and Santa Barbara, California. Total catch included 5 common thresher sharks, 16 blue sharks, 7 soupfin sharks and 15 pelagic rays. Four of the common threshers were outfitted with satellite archival tags to help define characteristics of their physical habitat. All nearshore sampling areas for the survey were occupied as scheduled. High winds and sea state conditions prevented completing all of the offshore stations. Cold water temperatures and red tide resulted in no catches of common thresher north of Santa Monica Bay. Mark Conlin, contract photographer for National Geographic magazine, participated on the first two days of the survey.

May 4, 2004

  • Al Coan and John Childers attended a meeting at the Southwest Region in Long Beach on May 3 to discuss details of issuing permits under the new HMS FMP. We have approximately 4 weeks left to get the permits system ready to accept data. S&T in DC is working on modifying a national permits system for us and will be installing it on our server in the near future. Al will be submitting a budget to allow for the printing and processing of 10 times the current number of albacore logbooks, and for picking up the processing of CDFG gillnet and harpoon logbooks. Coan's group will also be looking into developing a "tickler" program that will access the PacFIN database to query HMS landings on a daily basis, search for a corresponding logbook submission and, after 30 days from the date of landing, flag landings with no logbooks for SWR enforcement.
  • Bev Macewicz, Ron Dotson, and Dimitry Abramenkoff returned April 30th from a successful Pacific sardine survey onboard the F/V Frosti to obtain adult reproductive parameters to be used in conjunction with the egg samples collected on the R/V New Horizon and NOAA ship David Starr Jordan for estimation of the 2004 sardine spawning biomass. The survey covered the offshore area from just north of San Francisco to Pt. Conception and used a midwater rope trawl towed at the surface. Adult sardines were collected which ranged in size from 162 to 278 mm with an average of 240 mm and weighed 42 to 261 grams with an average about 160 grams. They returned with 374 preserved ovaries including 14 fully hydrated females, which is the first time a significant number of hydrated females have been.
  • Dale Squires and Jun Ye are preparing for a presentation at the Department of Economics at UCSD on the tuna fishing capacity results originally prepared for the March FAO meeting.

April 20, 2004

  • Al Coan attend the U.S.-Canada Treaty meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, April 13-14. Coan presented a paper on the 2003 U.S. North Pacific albacore troll fishery to both the delegation meeting on the 13th and the Treaty meeting on the 14th. He compared landings, effort, CPUE and size distribution in 2003 and 2004, detailed catches of U.S. trollers in Canadian waters (<1%) and gave a brief status of the North Pacific albacore stock.

    Negotiations for the Treaty between the U.S. and Canada went well and the SWR is fast-tracking the rules so that the DIP notes can be exchanged on June 1, 2004. Under the Treaty, U.S. vessels entering Canadian waters or Canadian vessels entering U.S. waters will need to call in and out of the zone. Each country will have a total number of vessel months allocated. When that number is reached, fishing in the zone will be stopped. Vessel month allocations will be decreased in each of the following two years.

  • Dave Holts reports that this week and next, he and others are preparing for multiple shark surveys beginning in May and extending thru July and possibly August. He is also working with some National Geographic people about a 2005 article on sharks and shark fishing.

  • Dave Griffith reports that the NOAA ship David Starr Jordan is running on one engine due to a burnt shaft seal. We have dropped some of the offshore stations in order to complete the northern lines. Due to the current good weather the vessel is still making about 8 knots, and if all goes well it will be back in San Diego on Saturday.

  • Ron Dotson, Bev Macewicz and Dimitry Abramenkoff will meet the F/V Frosti in San Francisco on Wednesday morning to start a cruise trawling for adult sardine. They will be out for 10 days and return to San Francisco on the 29th of April.

  • Dale Squires is writing contracts, reviewing four papers for refereed economics journals, and conducting other administrative matters in wrapping up the international vessel buyback workshop.

  • Day at the Docks, a huge recreational event at the sportfishing pier in Point Loma, is this Sunday, April 25. Suzy Kohin, John Childers, and Dave Holts will be manning a booth.

April 6, 2004

  • John Butler, Dave Demer, Chuck Oliver and Jim Kinane returned from a highly successful cruise on the M/V Outer Limits sponsored by the Pacific States Marine Fish Commission. "Groundfish" schools in the Southern California Bight were mapped using split beam sonar and species composition was determined using the SWFSC ROV.

  • Amy Hays and Ron Dotson report from the New Horizon conducting the CalCOFI cruise that the weather has improved and they are picking up some stations they missed due to poor weather. They hope to be back to San Diego on Friday and will unload from the New Horizon and load onto the David Starr Jordan, which is scheduled to depart on Monday.

  • Heidi Gjertsen, Peter Dutton, Dale Squires, and Ted Groves (Dept. of Economics, UCSD) visited Pacific Islands Regional Office on Monday to finalize the joint FRD-PRD-PIRO project on obtaining cost measures for alternative approaches to conservation and management of Pacific sea turtles to be conducted by the joint FRD-PRD-PIRO post-doctoral economist, Heidi Gjertsen; Gjertsen recently arrived from Cornell University.

  • Dutton, Gjertsen, Groves, and Squires are also co-teaching in the inter-disciplinary SIO Marine Science, Law, and Policy class on sea turtles, organized by Sarah Mesnick, which started last week with a lecture by Dutton and continues this week with another lecture by Dutton. Brian Hallman from the IATCC is also co-teaching the social science portion, with Gjertsen, Groves, and Squires.

  • In addtition, Gjertsen, Herrick, and Squires are "cleaning up" after the international vessel buyback workshop at UCSD co-sponsored by NMFS S/T, represented by Rita Curtis, SWFSC, Dept. of Economics UCSD, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies UCSD, and the UC-wide institute, Institute for Global Cooperation and Conflict. Case studies were presented from vessel buyback programs in Norway, Denmark, France, Italy (3 studies), Taiwan, Australia, Canada, U.S. Pacific coast, Gulf of Mexico, and New England, and a presentation was made on the EU Multi-Annual Guidance Program (capacity buyback program) by the European Commission. Subsequent discussion in break-out groups and plenary focused on developing a set of principles to guide vessel buy-back programs. Other attendees were a number of NMFS economists, Dick Young and Pete Leipzig from the Pacific coast groundfish trawl industry, and Chris Stone from the USC School of Law.

  • Heidi Gjertsen and Michelle Delafuente deserve considerable recognition for their central and crucial efforts in organizing the workshop; without their efforts, the workshop would not have been possible.

  • Squires is also finishing up an estimate of Eastern Pacific tuna purse seine fishing capacity, estimated in conjunction with Jun Ye of the Department of Economics at UCSD, which Squires presented at the second meeting of the FAO Technical Advisory Committee on managing tuna fishing capacity and fisheries in Madrid three weeks ago. Key recommendations from the meeting were a moratorium on access to the different tuna purse fisheries, and establishment of a informal body to coordinate the different tuna regional fishery management organizations. The recommendations and results from this meeting will be presented to the June FAO meeting to assess the International Plan of Action on fishing capacity.

  • After the meeting, Kirkley and Squires had a long meeting with a representative of the World Tuna Purse Seine Owners Organization, Julio Moran, concerning potential future research on fishing capacity and technical change in tuna purse (and longline) fleets. There was also an additional discussion about on-going research establishing the pattern of spatial price integration of global tuna markets.

  • To that end, last week Squires met with Yongil Jeon of the Dept. of Economics, UCSD, to discuss past, on-going and future research, jointly with Chris Reid of the Forum Fisheries Agency in the Solomon Islands, on the nature of tuna price formation in global markets. In addition to examining price leadership and the nature of short-run and long-run relationships between ex-vessel markets in the Americas, Europe, West Africa, Japan, Bangkok, and Pango-Pango, the investigators will examine time series of prices for key structural breaks, such as potentially occurred in 1997. Jeon was a student of Clive Granger, the recent Nobel Prize winner in economics from UCSD, and an expert in time series analysis.

  • This week, Bartoo, Herrick, Hewitt, Kohin, Smith, and Squires will be attending the HMS Management Team meeting and HMS Advisory Panel meeting in Sacramento. A key topic of discussion will be the proposed limited entry program for Pacific coast longline vessels and other regulatory measures for the longline fleet pertaining to sea turtles.

  • Herrick, Hewitt, Hill, Kohin and Smith will also be attending the Pacific Fisheries Management Council meeting, also held in Sacramento.

March 30, 2004

  • Sue Smith has been updating and revising contract work statements for the thresher shark pre-recruit index and nursery ground survey. New contracts will be let this spring for a new round of sampling in summer and early fall. There are still fishing days left on the FY 03 contracts and sampling should resume in April or May. Last fall, sampling was hampered by an extensive red tide bloom in the study areas off Santa Barbara and Ventura, although positive net catches were made in four of the five study areas. It is hoped that this spring's sampling of thresher shark neonates will yield useful information on the depth and alongshore distribution of the 0-year pups. Smith also spent time preparing SAIP reports for a pelagic shark survey and lab work, and proposals for FY 05 SAIP project funding with input from Suzy Kohin and Paul Crone.

  • As a part of the FATE project, Nancy Lo and Dan Rosenblatt are finalizing the analysis of a time series of hake larval production which will be used as a population index. This time series covers 1951-1984 and 2003. The years in between were not included because the CalCOFI surveys in those years did not cover the spawning area of hake, namely from Point Conception to San Francisco. To resume the time series of hake larval data, in January of 2003 the CalCOFI survey was extended to San Francisco. In addition, Nancy Lo is reviewing two papers, one for Fishery Oceanography and the other for CalCOFI report.

  • John Childers presented a short update of our albacore archival tagging program and our albacore sampling program at the annual Western Fishboat Owners Association spring meeting in Reno to be in force in early April. The port sampling program collects logbooks and fish measurements at 3 major unloading ports on the West Coast: Ilwaco, Washington; Newport, Oregon; and Terminal Island, California. Since no sampling is done between Newport and Terminal Island, the American Fisherman’s Research Foundation and SWFSC have developed measuring kits for fishermen to measure fish that are caught in these areas that are not sampled by our port sampling program. The albacore archival tag project has deployed approximately 160 archival tags between 2001 and 2003. At least 40 tags will be deployed this year. One tag has been recovered and a summary of the data recovered was presented at the meeting and is posted on our FRD web site. A reward of $500 is paid to fishermen who catch and return tagged albacore to the SWFSC.

  • John Butler and Annette Henry have finished a manuscript entitled "In Situ Observations of the Distribution and Abundance of Market Squid (Loligo opalescens) Egg Beds in California" based on cooperative work with California Department of Fish and Game.

  • Amy Hays reports from the research vessel New Horizon that the spring CalCOFI cruise is making good progress. Amy is sending in the results of the CUFES samples daily and they are posted on the FRD web page under the CalCOFI - Latest cruise link. There are maps showing the distribution of sardine, anchovy and jack mackerel eggs.

March 16, 2004

  • Dale Squires is in Madrid for the FAO Technical Advisory Committee meeting on managing global tuna capacity, an experts' meeting in preparation for an upcoming FAO Technical Consultation. Squires, Jim Kirkley of College of William and Mary, and Chris Reid of Forum Fisheries Agency completed a report with estimates of fishing capacity and excess capacity in the different tuna purse seine fleets (Atlantic, Indian, Western and Central Pacific, and Eastern Pacific Oceans).

  • Heidi Gjertsen, the new economics post-doc from Cornell University, and Squires are preparing for their international vessel buyback workshop of March 22-24. This workshop is co-hosted by Rita Curtis (F/ST) and Squires and sponsored by F/ST in D.C., SWFSC, Department of Economics UCSD, Graduate School of International Relations and Pacific Studies UCSD, and the Institute for Global Cooperation and Conflict, a UC-wide institute. Twelve case studies and their presenters from Norway, Denmark, France, Italy (3 separate ones), EU in general, Taiwan, Australia, Canada, Pacific coast groundfish, Gulf of Mexico shrimp, and New England groundfish, plus several introductory papers have been prepared. The EU Commissioner's office is also playing an active part. Many NMFS economists will attend and the Department of Economics and the Graduate School of International Relations at UCSD are playing an active role. The intent is to develop a set of advisory points about what works and does not work well in these programs. A book edited by Curtis and Squires is anticipated.

  • John Butler and David Demer returned from a highly successful rockfish survey cruise on the M/V Outer Limits March 11-14. Fish schools were mapped using split-beam sonar and acoustic target strength measurements were made on individual fish. The ROV was used to quantify the species composition of the fish schools. Some fish were captured and returned alive for additional acoustic measurements.

  • Dr. SunDo Hwang, a researcher from South Sea Fisheries Research and Development Institute in Yeosu, Korea, has completed his one-month stay in our center under a U.S. and Korea bilateral research program. He left for home on March 12th. During his four-week stay he had a chance to exchange research ideas with various researchers here, in particular John Butler, Kevin Hill, Chris Reiss, Kurt Schaefer and Jeannie Wexler. He wanted to thank people for their hospitality and wishes to come back in the near future for in-depth discussions with scientists.

  • Dave Griffiths reported that the F/V Frosti got nine large sardine (~225mm) on the 42° line about 90 miles off the coast of Oregon. They also got about 50 lbs squid (Loligo) with eggs inshore on the 42° line. They have had good enough weather to complete all of the trawls on the pattern. They are now working they way north and will be in Port Angeles on Friday.

  • Russ Vetter attended a meeting "Conservation of North Pacific Rockfishes: Ecological Genetics and Stock Structure". The meeting was sponsored by the Northwest Fisheries Science Center Conservation Biology Division and hosted by Paul Moran. Russ gave an invited talk summarizing ten years of work on rockfish issues and how molecular methods have contributed to identification of cryptic species, stock separation, the definition of Distinct Population Segments under the ESA and design of marine reserve networks.

Graduate student John Hyde followed with an invited presentation on molecular ID of rockfish larvae and the development of automated methods (DNA chips) that he has developed to identify up to 20 rockfish species in a common format.

Newly minted Ph.D. Cindy Taylor gave a presentation on molecular larval ID from CalCOFI samples, larval rockfish dispersal patterns and retention in the California Eddy.

All three presentations were well received and it was clear that the SWFSC La Jolla Lab is a center of excellence for this type of work.


March 2, 2004

  • Dale Squires is preparing for the upcoming FAO Technical Advisory Committee for Management of Tuna Fishing Capacity meeting in Madrid, March 13-20. Squires is also preparing for the upcoming vessel buyback workshop.

  • Sue Smith is reviewing two NOAA Research Proposals for NOAA's Chesapeake Bay Research Program and a manuscript for Fishery Bulletin. She also sent out her manuscript on leopard shark in situ mating behavior to outside and in-house reviewers, is revising thresher shark sampling protocols for this spring's sampling, and is working on a presentation on pelagic shark productivity. Lab work has resumed on identifying stomach contents from samples collected by driftnet observers during the July 2003-January 2004 fishing season. Results will help define similarities and differences in feeding among blue shark, common thresher shark and shortfin mako, especially when they co-occur.

  • On February 29, Dave Griffith, Bev Macewicz, and Elaine Acuna met the fishing vessel Frosti in Port Angeles, WA, to start the winter sardine trawling survey. The Frosti will be trawling off the Washington and Oregon coast for sardine adults for 20 days and return on March 19.

  • Drew Rapp, Dave Demer and John Butler have produced a multi-beam map of the 40 Mile Bank. This new capability will allow the Center to map fish habitat in-house.

  • Nancy Lo reported a successful one-day conference of American Statistical Association, San Diego Chapter, held on February 27 at UCSD Medical School. The conference attracted 75 attendees from San Diego and Los Angeles. Dr. Robert Mason, the 2003 ASA president, delivered a keynote speech on using honey bees to detect land mines. A total of 14 talks and six posters on different statistical methods applied to variety of fields, ranging from bio-tech, social science, economics, pharmaceutical to fisheries research. Nancy Lo wants to thank our center for providing support in many areas: visual aids, registration, program booklets and others.

February 24, 2004

  • Nancy Lo has finished an analysis to determine the minimum number of net tows needed for cowcod ichthyoplankton surveys in the near future. Estimates of cowcod larval density and abundance will be used as an index of the adult population. This analysis was based on cowcod larval counts collected on CalCOFI surveys from 1968-present, and from data collected during the last two special cruises (2002 and 2003) of the cowcod Conservation area, a three-year project. The initial results indicated that a minimum of 200 to 300 net tows are needed to achieve a precision level of coefficient of variation between 0.2 to 0.3, e.g. the standard error of the estimates is about 0.2 to 0.3 of the estimates (coefficient of variation = standard error of the estimate/ the estimate of larval density). The amount of sampling will be two to three times the current level, which is about 100 net tows. As the population increases and the variability decreases, the sampling intensity should be decreased.

  • Lo would also like to remind staff about the one-day conference of the San Diego Chapter of the American Statistical Association, on Friday, February 27 at the Center of Molecular Genetics, located at 9500 Gilman Drive, UCSD School of Medicine. For the program and registration, please see www.sdasa.org.

  • Sue Smith is working on a presentation on pelagic shark rates of population increase and a manuscript on leopard shark mating activity.

  • Russ Vetter received notice from NOAA's Office of Ocean Explorations that the proposal "Large Pelagic Sharks of the Eastern Tropical Pacific" by Vetter and J. Graham of SIO has been approved for funding. The project involves satellite tracking of large sharks and will involve Suzanne Kohin and David Holts of the FRD.

February 17, 2004

  • Clearance for the Canadian chartered vessel Frosti to enter and operate in U.S. waters was received Tuesday. Although somewhat late, the survey of the northern sardine resource will begin on February 29. The ship will depart from Port Angles, WA.


February 10, 2004

  • Al Coan attended the working group meetings (bluefin, swordfish, marlin and statistics) of the Interim Scientific Committee in Honolulu, January 26-31. He presented a paper on the joint SWFSC/PIFSC HMS data catalog and rapporteured the Statistics Working Group session.

  • Nancy Lo, Rich Charter and Ron Dotson met with two spotter pilots, Tom Wilson and Carl Sbarounis on February 4, to discuss the survey plan for the upcoming aerial survey for coastal pelagic fish populations, primarily for Pacific sardine and Pacific mackerel. This survey is scheduled to take place in March-April. The survey area covers the coast from San Diego to San Francisco and extends offshore 150 miles. The results of this survey will be used as input to annual stock assessment models. This survey should provide unbiased estimates of sardine juveniles in the inshore area and the adult population offshore California, an improvement over the estimates from log books provided by spotter pilots over 38 years from 1951-2000. We hope this statistically designed survey will become an annual survey in the future.

  • Amy Hays, Dimitry Abramenkoff, Valerie Cannon and Noelle Bowlin departed this morning on the R/V New Horizon to do the ichthyoplankton survey of the cowcod conservation area. This is the third year of the baseline study of the area. The cruise will last 10 days and will return to port on February 20.

February 3, 2004

  • John Butler and Dave Demer participated in a rockfish survey cruise on the M/V Outer Limits Feb 2-4, which finished surveying rockfish schools at the Cherry Bank.

  • Butler also participated in a black abalone workshop on Feb 5-6. The participants indicated that black abalone numbers have greatly decreased since the 1970s due largely to withering syndrome. Recent recruitment at some localities holds out hope that some black abalone may have developed resistance to the disease.

  • Sue Smith reports that the manuscript "Diet differences in the common thresher shark during transition from a warm to cool-water regime off California-Oregon, 1998-2000," by Preti, Smith and Ramon, has been approved by the Center and submitted to the editor of CalCOFI Reports.

January 27, 2004

  • Sue Smith has been working on manuscripts and also a summary report of SWFSC shark and billfish research to be included in the division's ISC Report. Also, this week the Pacific

  • Council's Highly Migratory Species (HMS) management team will hold a meeting in the Center's large conference room, January 27-28, to discuss initial considerations for limited entry in the high-seas longline fishery based out of California. This meeting is open to the public.

  • The San Diego Chapter of American Statistical Association is organizing a one-day conference on current research and applications of statistical methodologies on Friday, February 27 at the Center for Molecular Genetics conference room, 9500 Gilman Drive. Nancy Lo is encouraging people who are interested in statistics to attend. For detailed information, please see www.sdasa.org The previous link is a link to Non-Federal government web site. Click to review NOAA Fisheries disclaimer .

  • David Holts was in Zihuatanejo, Mexico last week tagging sailfish with Eric Prince of the SEFSC. This Adopt-A-Billfish program's goal is to identify post-release morality of tournament-caught billfish and to identify international movements of billfish off Mexico and Central Mexico. We were able to catch and tag nine sailfish with archival satellite pop-up tags in five days of fishing. The tags are due to pop up in 30 to 90 days and report locations, temperature and depths visited by those sailfish. Sailfish and marlin have also been satellite tagged in Panama, Costa Rica and Guatemala during this Adopt-A-Billfish program.
    The NOAA Ship David Starr Jordan completed all of the stations for the winter CalCOFI cruise early this morning. Ron Dotson, Amy Hays, Sue Manion and Valerie Growney who are aboard the ship will be back to San Diego around noon on Thursday

January 6, 2004

  • Nancy Lo will be in Concepcion, Chile, from January 5-19. She will teach a short course on the basics of daily egg production methods to the Department of Oceanography, University of Concepcion, from January 5-7, and attend a workshop on evaluation of the spawning biomass estimates of anchovy and sardine off central Chile for 2003 at Instituto de Investigacion Pesquera from January 8 and 9. She will then attend the SPACC workshop and meeting from January 12-16. The theme of SPACC meeting is small pelagic fish spawning habitat dynamics and the daily egg production method. Lo will present a talk on CUFES-aided ichthyoplankton surveys to assess the Pacific sardine egg production and spatial distributions of pelagic fish off California.

  • Russ Vetter received notice from the NOAA Office of Protected Resources that the proposal "Population Connectivity and Distinct Population Segments in Bocaccio Rockfish, Sebastes paucispinis: A Tri-National Study" has been approved for funding when and if Congress passes a budget.

  • On Monday morning Dave Griffith, Ron Dotson, Amy Hays and Sue Manion departed on the NOAA Ship David Starr Jordan for the winter CalCOFI cruise. The cruise will cover the CalCOFI pattern from San Diego to San Francisco. The ship is due back in San Diego on January 30 and then will start a two-month yard period.

  • Sue Smith is working on a paper on leopard shark reproductive behavior and also planning for thresher shark sampling in the spring.
Last modified: 12/24/2014