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Date: 23 June 1999

Cruise: MF99-07 (FOCI, Greenbelt Study)


Southeastern Bering Sea


12 May Depart Dutch Harbor
20 May Arrive Dutch Harbor

Participating organizations:

NOAA - Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC)

NOAA - Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL)

Oregon State University (OSU)



Mesopelagic fishes and squids are critical components in the diet of apex predators (marine mammals, birds, and semi-demersal fishes) in the southeastern Bering Sea. This pilot study was designed to identify mesopelagic fishes and squids, their habitat, and the physical mechanisms that define that habitat in the southeastern Bering Sea Green Belt. Three sampling strategies were used: 1) midwater tows day and night at three depths to sample mesopelagic fishes and cephalopods; 2) deployment of four satellite tracked drifters and a series of CTD tracks to measure current flow, water temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll; and 3) flying bridge observations of marine mammals when the ship was underway between stations.



1.1. Chief Scientist:
 Beth Sinclair  F  NOAA/NMML

The Chief Scientist has the authority to revise or alter the technical portion of the instructions as work progresses provided that, after consultation with the Commanding Officer, it is ascertained that the proposed changes will not: (1) jeopardize the safety of personnel or the ship; (2) exceed the overall time allotted for the project; (3) result in undue additional expenses; (4) alter the general intent of these project instructions.

1.2 Participating Scientists:
 Name   Sex  Affiliation
 Dennis Benjamin  M  NOAA/RACE
 Kurt Zegowitz  M  NOAA/PMEL
 Carolyn Kurle  F  NOAA/NMML
Tonya Zeppelin F NOAA/NMML
 Nathan Pamplin  M  OSU
 William G. Pearcy  M  OSU
 Carol DeWitt  F  NOAA/PMEL
 Beth Sinclair  F  NOAA/NMML
 Phyllis Stabeno  F  NOAA/PMEL
 Trissa Rauen  F  Teacher at Sea

1.3 NOAA Pacific Marine Center Operations Contact:

Larry Mordock
1801 Fairview Ave. East
Seattle, WA 98102-3767
(206) 553 - 4764

1.4 Program Contacts:

 Dr. Phyllis Stabeno 
7600 Sand Point Way NE 
Seattle, WA 98115 
(206) 526-6453
 Dr. Art Kendall 
7600 Sand Point Way NE 
Seattle, WA 98115 
(206) 526-4108 





A). Examine distribution and relative biomass of the midwater prey community in areas of historically low and high bycatch. The midwater zone was sampled with an Aleutian Wing Midwater Trawl into which a 20m, 1/2" stretch mesh codend liner has been inserted prior to ship departure from Dutch Harbor. Trawls were conducted as a diel series at three depths (0-250m; -500m; -1000m) in two subareas. Two trendline CTD tracks were run and CTDs were conducted at the equilibrium and end station for each trawl (Fig. 1). Trawls were conducted obliquely to depth (250m, 500m, and 1000m), with one to two hours trawl time at depth at a vessel speed of 3kts. Vessel speeds were increased up to 4.6 kts during. net deployment and retrieval to reduce.bycatch from non-target depths. Trawl locations were adjusted within the study area to take advantage of changing conditions such as weather and density of fish sign (Fig. 2) otherwise, two to three days were spent in each subarea allowing for a minimum of four trawls (two daylight, two nighttime) at each depth. A total of 15 trawls were conducted throughout the cruise. Drifters were deployed within each subarea as indicated (Fig. 3)

B) Examine distribution and feeding activity of marine mammal predators in areas of historically low and high marine mammal densities. Marine mammal surveys were conducted during daylight hours when the vessel was underway (during nudwater trawl operations and between CTD stations). Observations were conducted by one observer from the flying bridge.

C). Examine the physical mechanisms influencing the distribution of the midwater nekton community and their predators. CTD readings were collected along two transect lines to 1500m (or to the bottom), and at the equilibrium point and end of each series of trawls (Fig. 1). Flourometer measurements were taken along the same tracklines as CTDs, but the flourometer was removed for casts deeper than 500m. The shipboard Seachest Flourometer was running throughout the cruise. One satellite-tracked drifter was dropped at the start of trawling on the first day of the cruise. The second and third (color) drifter were dropped at the end of the first trawling set, and the remaining drifter was dropped in the vicinity of trawl stations at the end of the second series of CTDs (Fig. 3).
A standard oceanographic watch was utilized which consisted of a winch operator, a scientific staff of three to five, and a survey tech on deck. Operations were conducted 24 hours a day. A fishing crew assisted with midwater trawls. A survey tech and winch operator were available for CTD operations. The total number of trawls conducted were significantly reduced from that originally proposed due to weather and a reduction in shiptime. Additional adjustments were required in vessel operations as a result of complications from drydock renovation. Nonetheless, the officers and crew conducted operations in an exemplary fashion under ever-shifting conditions, resulting in successful completion of this pilot study.


The following operations were conducted on this cruise. The procedures for these operations are listed in the FOCI Standard Operating Instructions (SOI). Operations not addressed in the SOI and changes to standard procedures are addressed below.

CTD(Water samples (SOI 2.2.1),
Midwater trawl (S012.2. 8)

Satellite tracked drifter buoy (SOI 2.2.11)

ADCP (SOI2.2.13)

EK500 monitoring (SOI 2.2.12)

Seachest and Uncontaminated Seawater (SOI 3.4)



The following systems and their associated support services are essential to the cruise. Sufficient consumables, back-up units, and on-site spares and technical support must be in place to assure that operational interruptions are minimal. All measurement instruments are expected to have current calibrations, and all pertinent calibration information shall be included in the data package.

3.1 Equipment and Capabilities Provided by the Ship:

Oceanographic winch with slip rings and 3-conductor cable terminated for CTI),

Wire-angle indicator and readout for oceanographic winch,

Oceanographic winch for bongo net (and other nets when used) with slip rings and 3-conductor cable terminated for the SeaCat,

Sea-Bird 911 plus CTD system to be used with PMEL stand (primary system) (The underwater CTD unit should have mounts compatible with the PMEL CTD stand),

Sea-Bird 911 plus CTD system with stand (back up system),

Sea-Bird SBE-19 SeaCat system (primary system) (Each CTD system should include underwater CTD, weights, and pinger and there should be one deck unit and tape recorder for the two systems),

10-liter sampling bottles for use with rosette (10 plus 4 spares),

For CTD field corrections:

IAPSO water and AUTOSAL salinometer,

Wire speed indicators and readout for quarterdeck,

Rowe and Marco winches,

For meteorological observations:

2 anemometers (one R. M. Young system interfaced to the SCS),

calibrated air thermometer (wet-and dry-bulb) and a calibrated barometer and/or barograph,

Freezer space for storage of biological and chemical samples (blast and storage freezers),

Simrad EQ-50 echo sounder,

JRC JFV-20OR color sounder recorder,

RDI ADCP written to SCS and Iomega Zip drives,

Bench space in DataPlot for PCS,

monitor, printer and VCR to fly MOCNESS,

Use of Pentium PC in DataPlot for data analysis,

SCS (Shipboard Computer System),

Aft Rowe winch,

Electrical connection between Rowe winch and DataPlot,

Laboratory space with exhaust hood, sink, lab tables and storage space,

Sea-water hoses and nozzles to wash nets (quarterdeck and aft deck),

Adequate deck lighting for night-time operations,

Navigational equipment including GPS and radar,

Safety harnesses for working on quarterdeck and fantail,
NOTE: Stern platform was removed and stored prior to departure as requested.


3.2 Equipment Provided by the Project:

PMEL PC with SeaCat and SEASOFT software for CTD data collection and processing,

Fluorometer to be mounted on CTD,

CTD stand modified for attachment of fluorometer,

Conductivity and temperature sensor package to provide dual sensors on the primary CT, and one for the backup system,

CTD rosette sampler,

60-cm bongo sampling arrays,

20-cm bongo arrays,

WestMar (third wire),

Two MBTs (bathythermographs),

Two Aleutian Wing Midwater Trawls (AWT),

Two AWT codend liners (2" stretch)

Fishbuster doors (2750 lbs)

Argos tracked drifter buoys with optical sensors,

EK500 monitoring system,

Miscellaneous scientific sampling and processing equipment, Sorting tables and baskets for processing trawl catches,

Discrete Sample DataBase forms

3.3. Ship's Computer System (SCS)

The ship's Scientific Computer System (SCS) operated throughout the cruise, acquiring and logging data from navigation, meteorological, oceanographic, and fisheries sensors. See FOCI Standard Operating Instructions for specific requirements. The ship uses the NT version of SCS. The VAX was available for data processing. An upgraded version of the NT SCS software was installed on the transit to Ketchikan in April. Contact CST Wm. Floering for further information.



Biological samples are in freezer storage aboard the Miller Freeman and will be offloaded and analyzed when the vessel returns to Seattle in October. Preliminary data has been organized in a format compatible with the public fisheries database at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center. A cruise description with preliminary cruise results is currently being prepared for posting on the PMEL/FOCI Bering Sea webpage. .


1999 April - May Shipboard - data collection

October Summary of preliminary analysis of: drifter data, trawl samples, marine mammal observations

2000 October Synthesis and publication of results from 1998 retrospective studies and 1999 field studies



5.3 Piggyback projects:

There were no formal piggyback projects however, 18 bongoes were conducted for Art Kendall (FOCI) in conjunction with CTD transects.



6.5. Hazardous Materials:

The Chief Scientist was for complying with NC Instruction 6280A, Hazardous Waste; policy, guidance, and training, dated February 4, 1991, paragraph 7.g and paragraph 9. By federal law, the ship may not sail without a complete inventory of MSDS, and appropriate neutralizing agents, buffers, and/or absorbents in amounts adequate to address spills of a size equal to the amount aboard.

The following hazardous materials were provided and controlled by the scientists with the Chief Scientist assuming responsibility for the safe handling of such substances:

Hazardous Materials:

Buffered Formalin

Isopropyl Alcohol

Additions to FOCI/AFSC chemical manifest -- none



Figure 1.-- CTD sample locations. Marine mammal/bird observations, were at cruising speed in tracklines between CTD stations.

Figure 2.--Midwater trawls were conducted within three depth categories (0-250m; 250- 500m; and 500 -1000m) at the two primary sampling locations near Unimak Pass and Bogoslof Island.

Figure 3.-- Drifter activity as of 7/15/99.

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