Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigations (FOCI) is an effort
by NOAA scientists to understand the physical and biological processes
that determine recruitment variability of commercially valuable finfish
and shellfish stocks in Alaskan waters. At present, FOCI consists of a
Shelikof Strait walleye pollock project (western Gulf of Alaska), and a
NOAA Coastal Ocean Program (COP) project: Southeast Bering Sea Carrying
Capacity. The COP project is a collaborative efforts by NOAA and academic
scientists to understand the affects of abiotic and biotic variability
on the SE Bering Sea ecosystem.
1. Biological oceanographic observations at 4 stations on Line 8, and
at 2 Mooring stations (Napp, Stabeno).
2. 1 midwater trawl for spawning pollock.
A. On-board incubation of eggs at low temperature (Blood).
B. Incubate eggs to bring to Seattle for rearing (Porter, Olla).
C. Obtain fin-clip samples (Canino).
D. Obtain eggs from 4 single pair spawnings to return to Seattle (Canino).
3. 2 live Tucker tows for pollock eggs to bring back to Seattle (Bailey).
Southeast Bering Sea Shelf:
4. Bongo tows and EK500 survey to locate area of pollock spawning/egg
concentration over southeast shelf (Kendall).
5. Depth-stratified Tucker trawl tows to determine pollock eggs vertical
distribution and to obtain pollock eggs to return to Seattle for specific
gravity measurements (Kendall).
6. 1 midwater trawl for spawning pollock.
A. Obtain fin-clip samples (Canino).
B. Obtain genetic tissue samples (ADFG).
C. Obtain gill raker samples (Schabetsberger).
The cruise began with biological oceanographic sampling at 4 stations
on Line 8 in Shelikof Strait. This was followed by an EK500 search for
pollock concentrations in the deep trench on the Alaska Peninsula side
of the strait north of Line 8. Heavy sign was seen in the deep pool off
Takli Island, and a midwater trawl was taken which resulted in spawning
pollock to meet all of our objectives for adult pollock in Shelikof Strait.
We then returned to make CTD casts at 2 mooring sites near Line 8, and
then proceeded toward Unimak Pass. Before we got there a forecast storm
developed which impeded our progress. On reaching the Bering Sea we began
a bongo/EK500 survey to locate a region of pollock spawning and egg concentration.
This work proceeded slowly, with steady winds of 40 knots and seas to 30
feet. At some stations biological oceanographic observations were also
made. Very few pollock eggs appeared in the samples, and no significant
concentrations of adults were seen. Finally a station was set in deeper
water north of Unimak Pass, and discrete-depth Tucker trawls were made
to obtain pollock eggs for specific gravity measurements. No eggs were
seen in either a 0-40 m, or a 160-200 m tow so no further egg sampling
was done. A midwater trawl conducted on sign at the same station resulted
in sufficient pollock to obtain material for genetic studies, but no ripe
females were found. Following this trawl we broke operations and made way
to Dutch Harbor.
There were no significant mechanical or electronic problems during the
cruise. The weather in the Bering Sea severely limited our operations there.
We were not able to steam at full speed, and could not conduct all the
operations scheduled. In spite of the weather, both the ship's and
the scientific crews worked very well; had it not been for their extraordinary
efforts in the rough weather we would not have been able to accomplish
as much as we did.