Against the odds, a remarkable success

Good Evening Everyone,

We have just finished our last station of this cruise, less than twenty miles southeast of Great South Channel, and are now heading west, back towards Narragansett Bay, and Newport RI, where we expect to dock at noon on Thursday, June 14.  The cruise has been overshadowed by the problems the ship faced with its propeller shaft bearings, but on a positive note, proactive measures taken by the command and crew have salvaged much of the cruise mission.  The Mid-Atlantic Bight, Southern New England and Georges Bank areas were surveyed.  The northern flank of Georges Bank and a part of its southern edge were not sampled, and the entire Gulf of Maine was left undone for lack of time.

yellowtail flounder juvenile

A yellowtail flounder early juvenile, captured on the southeastern corner of Georges Bank. (Credit: Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

However, given that the Henry Bigelow was only at sea for a total of about ten days, we achieved an amazing amount of coverage for samples and data to add to our long-term time series database.  We were able to deploy bongo nets equipped with different mesh sizes and an Isaacs-Kidd midwater trawl on Georges Bank and capture some yellowtail flounder larvae, which was an important part of our mission.  We were also able to get as far as the Northeast Channel for critical hydrography measurements made with the CTD 911 and Niskin bottle water sampling array.  Shelley Goyert and Tom Johnson, our marine mammal and bird observers, were able to document sighting a sperm whale, sei whale and humpback whales as well as pilot whales and common dolphins during the northern part of our trip.  Their bird observations included sooty and greater shearwaters, Wilson and Leach’s storm petrels, northern fulmars, south polar and greater skuas, and a red-billed tropic bird, which was way out of its normal range and is extremely rare to see on Georges Bank.

marine mammal bird observers

Our marine mammal and bird observation team from the City University of NY: Tom Johnson and Holly Goyert. (Credit: Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

bingo on Bigelow

Our Steward’s Department, run by Chief Steward Dennis Carey (in black cap) and assisted by Jeremy Howard, keeps us entertained as well as fed! Bingo Night is a weekly event aboard the Henry Bigelow. (Credit: Jerry Prezioso, NEFSC/NOAA)

I would like to say thank you to the crew, officers and scientists that staffed this cruise.   What we achieved in roughly ten working days was nothing short of remarkable.  This cruise marked our first Ecosystem Monitoring Survey aboard the Fisheries Survey Vessel Henry B. Bigelow.  I am sure we’ll be able to expect great things from her in the future.

Jerry Prezioso
Chief Scientist
HB 12-02  Ecosystem Monitoring Survey

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