December 2001

Volume 1 Issue 2


FOA Home Page

The News Letter for FOA employees on the sea and in the Lab

The Newsletter For FOA Employees on the Sea and In the Lab

December Features

Links to other stories:

Policy Updates

Important Updates about Policies and Procedures at FOA

Take Our Christmas Quiz Page Three

How much do you really know about Christmas traditions, and the toys and games that children have played with through the years?

Don’t want to take the quiz, go to Page Four for the answers

FOA Profile

Each month we will meet a different FOA Employee. This month meet Gillnet Program Manager, Carolyn Parker.

Important Dates, and Birthdays

November Survey Results Find out the September 11 attacks have effected your fellow FOA employees

FOA Employee’s Favorite Christmas Carol(?) You will be surprised

Gillnet Observers Complete 6th Season

The California/Oregon Drift Gillnet Observer program is currently in its sixth season. Frank Orth & Associates has been the contractor for this program since 1996. The contract is with NMFS Southwest Region Office, with FOA operations located in Long Beach, CA. Carolyn Parker is the Program Manager and Scott Casey is the Assistant Manager for implementation of the contract. Both Carolyn and Scott have over five years of experience with FOA on this program.

There are over 100 permitted drift gillnet vessels targeting swordfish and thresher sharks and the fleet is required to have observer coverage for 20% of its fishing effort. FOA is responsible for providing the observers to obtain the 20% fleet wide coverage. Some of the other fish that are caught in this fishery include shortfin mako sharks, albacore, bluefin tuna, yellowfin tuna, common molas and opah.  

The observers monitor the catch, collect length frequencies, specimen samples, and watch for any interactions with marine mammals and sea turtles. We have sixteen observers this season that have made trips out of various ports including San Diego, Morro Bay, and Newport, OR. The minimum trip requirements are to observe five sets over six days but many of the trips last from six to ten sets. A set is defined as one complete cycle of net placement through retrieval.

One observer recently recorded the catch of a male Megamouth Shark. This is only the fifteenth recorded specimen in the world, and the fourth caught in this fishery. The observer took many photos and was able to take a biopsy from this rare shark before it was released alive. For those who are interested, the photos can be seen on the Florida Museum of Natural History website. 

Frank Orth & Associates is also currently involved with the new West Coast Longline program. There are approximately twenty vessels that are longline fishing for swordfish off of the California coast. Currently it is a voluntary program for observer coverage. FOA has two observers that are talking with the captains to see if they are willing to take an observer on a trip. So far, we have had one observed trip this season with twenty two observed sets. Along with the target species of swordfish, the fisherman also caught bluefin tuna, blue sharks, oilfish, escolar, lancetfish, and a pacific fanfish.

For more information about the Observer Program contact Carolyn Parker