Barb Block on the Shogun Expedition: The team from the Tuna Research Conservation Center of Stanford University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium are heading out today on the
Barb Block from the Shogun Expedition. Our first day out at sea and conditions have looked very good.
Barb Block from the Shogun Expedition. The wind and seas came up a bit today as we searched around for baby bluefin tuna.
Barb Block from the Shogun Expedition. I'm happy to report that the Shogun, the Tuna Research and Conservation Center (TRCC) team, and the Monterey Bay Aquari
Barb Block from the Shogun Expedition. We decided to take the 8 bluefin tuna we caught yesteray to shore to load on the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s specially designed truck
Barb Block from the Shogun Expedition. Bluefin tuna must have good vision.
Barb Block from the Shogun Expedition. We spent a few days hunting bluefin and scored some nice albacore fishing and a fantastic view of a blue whale mom and calf.
Barbara Block, at Stanford's Hopkins Marine Station. The disappearing populations of bluefin tuna were once so plentiful in the North Sea that their carcasses filled f
George Shillinger, from New Zealand. I arrived in Greymouth on the 9th and am organizing gear right now. At the moment we are dealing with some bad weather.
George Shillinger, from New Zealand. Well, it's sunny today -- a miracle in very grey Greymouth!
George Shillinger, from New Zealand. Great news --- We are heading out tonight!
Jane Stevens in Monterey Bay. This just in, from a quick phone call from George Shillinger, who's on his way back from New Zealand. In the last posting he sent, he was getting ready to jump on a small sport fishing boat and head out 70 nautical miles from Greymouth to shadow the hoki trawlers for bluefin. The short story is that he tagged a dozen giant bluefin tuna, including a thousand-pound fish, the largest that the skipper, a veteran of 20 years' fishing in those waters, had ever seen.
Jane Stevens, at Hopkins Marine Station, Pacific Grove, CA - Two stories appeared recently about the plight of bluefin tuna, one in the Christian Science Monitor and on 60 Minutes, and on one of the stories on the radio series, Islaearth, Barb Block's Atlantic bluefin tagging program was featured.
It's not a pretty picture that 60 Minutes and the Christian Science Monitor painted. Here's the rundown; they're worth a read, a look and a listen.
Jane Stevens, in Berkeley, CA - Check out "Tagging of Pacific Predators" on KQED-TV's QUEST!
Our annual tuna tagging and collecting trip has begun aboard the F/V Shogun with Captains Norm & Bruce. We left San Diego on a hot and sunny Saturday afternoon, loaded up with live bait, electronic tags, and sampling gear to study tunas for the next 9 days. Our objectives are to collect small bluefin to bring back to our lab- and to continue the archival tagging of live fish with implantable tags. Together the tuna team at TOPP has deployed over 1000 electronic tags in Pacific bluefin, yellowfin and albacore tunas.
We've had an exciting day aboard the Shogun. We've been in an area that has some very spectacular schools of small bluefin- exactly what we're looking for. Today was an Audubon special with whales, albatross, jumping bluefin- and albacore- sometimes all around the boat. The bluefin are two year old bluefin- about 15-18 lb fish- perfect for collecting- and placing in wells flowing with seawater below the deck. The bluefin made some spectacular shows- at the surface- aggressively feeding, jumping and exciting all of us. We have not seen such intense surface action in two years.
The TOPP team is currently onboard the F/V Shogun for our annual tagging and collecting trip. After two days in U.S. waters, we're now fishing in Mexican waters where a very nice showing of tunas occurred. Small bluefin were feeding at the surface in numerous spots. Some are the smallest fish we've seen in years- measuring 63-68 cm- about 5kg fish. We were able to collect 16, tag about 10, and then collect 3 for sampling by Ph.D students doing projects on physiology and ecology.
We came in with our full load of bluefin, but unlike years past where we usually unload at Scripps dock, we came right in to Fisherman's Landing. Here Norm pulled the Shogun in as close as he could, and we unloaded each fish individually from the well in a sling of water. The hard part was that we had to walk, and run the fish- 400 feet up a ramp- across the dock- and down a sidewalk to get to the Tunabago truck, that has been built specifically for transporting fish.
Epic. Remarkable. Inspiring. Those are words to describe today, Friday, July 11th aboard the F/V Shogun. I’ve not experienced a day fishing and tagging Pacific bluefin like this since early August of 2002. It's the same place and same ocean, but a long time has passed since the bluefin were biting like this. It is a day you live for as an angler- and as a tuna scientist- the fun of such great action keeps you enthusiastic about what we’re doing forever.
We were able to get the final 15 archival tags out on small bluefin tuna on Saturday morning, and we topped off the live wells so that 15 fish were aboard swimming in circles below deck. At this point we have archival tagged 112 Pacific bluefin in the past week, and collected 30 live fish for the Tuna Research and Conservation Center. We’ve also placed 7 archival tags in albacore (we stopped tagging albies when I realized how many bluefin were around). This total puts our team at a total of about 550 electronic tags on Pacific bluefin.
The 2008 New Zealand Pacific bluefin satellite tagging effort is underway. I reunited with Pete Saul and colleagues, John Holdsworth (Bluewater Marine Research) and Tim Sippel (Auckland University) in Greymouth on August 16, 2008 for another shot at tagging the giant tuna off the West Coast of New Zealand’s South Island.
Hopes were high for a successful conclusion of the pop-up satellite tagging in the second week. To maximize our tag deployment efforts, George Shillinger (see his blogs #3 and 5) transferred to the Cerveza 2, leaving Pete, Tim, and John to continue with working with the Cova Rose. As both teams prepared to depart, the weather had cleared again allowing the boats to leave the port of Greymouth on schedule.
Although it was difficult to leave my colleagues and the crew behind on the Cova Rose, it was exciting to board the Cerveza 2 again and to rejoin Captain Larry Johnston, his crew, and the Greymouth Guzzlers (4Gs).
Pete Saul reports on his back to back trip on Cova Rose. It was a quick turn-around with only a few hours ashore. The charter was three enthusiastic south Australians who wanted to land a fish only if it was a potential world record.
George Shillinger reports on a birthday outing with the Cerveza 2:
Following four back-to back runs on three different vessels, I was craving some rest but anxious to finish the tagging work with our team in Greymouth. I had already extended my trip and could not afford to stay any longer.
After two intensive weeks of fishing, the 2008 bluefin tuna satellite tagging program had made good strides towards the goal of deploying 25 pop-up satellite tags. Although New Zealand’s winter weather hasn’t been great this season, we’ve managed to tag 21 bluefin by the end of August.
I thought that it might be exciting for our readers to provide an angler’s perspective on the fishing and tag deployment experience off Greymouth, New Zealand. I received the following email from angler, Tom Thomson, who is featured within my birthday bluefin blog in this series, regarding our trip on August 27 - 28, 2008. - George Shillinger
Today in the journal PLoS ONE, TOPP scientists Drs.
A race organizer of The Great Turtle Race.