OAI News & Information

NOAA Fisheries: 2018 Aerial Surveys of Arctic Marine Mammals - updates and photos from OAI employees.

OAI employees Marjorie Foster, Katie Jackson, Laura Ganley, Kate Pagan, Vicki Beaver, Lisa Barry, Corey Accardo, Nicole Brandt, and Suzie Hanlan have been conducting aerial surveys for NOAA Fisheries in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. View some of the spectacular photos and read their observations HERE

"OAI at the 16th International American Cetacean Society Conference

On Sunday November 3, 2018 OAI employee Lauren Saez gave an oral presentation alongside NMFS' Justin Greenman on an effort to document U.S. west coast large whale entanglements in 2017 at the 16th International American Cetacean Society Conference in Newport Beach, CA. The team of 6 who worked on this project also included OAI's Lauren De Maio.

Abstract: Marine mammal entanglement off the U.S. West Coast has been identified as an issue of concern by the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), specifically for large whales because of the potential impacts, both to the individual and at the stock/population level. Most large whale species found along the U.S. West Coast have been observed either as entangled or with evidence of having been entangled during their lifetime. Between 2000 and 2013, an average of 10 large whale entanglements were reported per year along the U.S. west coast, with humpback (Megapteranovaeangliae) and gray (Eschrichtiusrobustus) whales being the species most frequently identified. Starting in 2014 there was an increase noted in entanglement reports with more than 30 and then in 2015, the total number of entangled whales reported was 61 with 49 of those reports confirmed via photo or reliable source and gear was removed from 11whales. In 2016 the total number of reports rose to 71 with 48 being confirmed and gear was removed from 10 whales (includes full, partial and self-release). In 2017 there was a decrease in both reported and confirmed entanglements with 41 reported and 31 confirmed but unfortunately this number is still elevated. Over the past four years the team identified the following gear types from the entangled whales: Dungeness crab pot, sablefish pot, spiny lobster pot, spot prawn pot, a weather buoy, and a variety of gill nets. This information aids in understanding the nature of the entanglement and in finding ways to try to prevent future entanglements. NMFS and the entanglement response team are working to expand the coverage across the entire West Coast to improve on the timeliness of responses to all received reports and collaborating with boaters, whale watching groups and fishermen to raise awareness and find methods to reduce future entanglements. READ MORE

OAI employee Laren Saez

October Employee Photo Contest Winner

Congratulations to Lela Work, the winner of the October 2018 Employee Photo Contest with her photo titled Boise River. The photo subject is: Fall Floating-electrofishing down the Boise River.

The runner-up in a close vote goes to Beth Jaime with her photo titled Turtle Car, taken while she was working on Lisianski Island, one of Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The photo is of a recently weaned Hawaiian monk seal exploring a green sea turtle. The seal spent the entire day messing with the turtle and eventually fell asleep next to it.

View October's Entries

October 2018 Employee Photo Contest Winner

October 2018 Employee Photo Contest Runner Up

NOAA Fisheries Recognizes OAI Employee Alan Rahi

OAI's Alan Rahi was recently recognized by the NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region (WCR) Regional Administrator for his work on the southern resident killer whale communications effort (as recently seen in the national news).

Alan works with scientific and management NMFS staff to develop multimedia content for web and social media on NOAA Fisheries WCR science, management, and conservation work. Alan also participated in setting up and promoting the meetings, debriefing and suggesting changes between the meetings, and performing analysis on the comments and FB/Twitter data from the live stream.

With Alan and the rest of the teams participation the social media presence for the WCR has vaulted into the forefront of the discussions around the critically endangered Southern Residents and the overall ecology of the Puget Sound. The WCR FaceBook page alone has seen growth of 50% since August 2018.

OAI Employees Win NMFS Team Member of the Year Awards

OAI is pleased to announce the following NMFS Team Member of the Year award winners for 2017 - Congratulations to you all!

Margaret Decie (OLE)
Galeeb Kachra (WCRO)
Tina Le Nguyen (SWFSC)
John Yerxa (WCRO)

John Everett, President of OAI, Margaret Decie, NMFS Team Member of the Year Award Winner, Susan Linhares, OAI Northeast Region Project Manager (l to r)
OAI in the News: Study finds more harm to fish from stormwater | WSUV experts: Salmon senses, abilities dulled

A few years ago, scientists discovered that stormwater, a potentially toxic mixture of lawn fertilizers, brake-pad dust and other pollutants, can kill salmon.

New research shows that even when exposed salmon survive, they’re left with reduced abilities to perceive their environment. CLICK HERE

OAI in the Field: Hawaiian Islands Cetacean and Ecosystem Assessment Survey 2017

The 2017 Hawaiian Islands Cetecean and ecosystem assessment survey (HICEAS) is a 187 day survey effort to study cetaceans, seabirds, turtles and their habitats within the U.S. waters within the Hawaiian Islands, taking place from July through December 2017. OAI staff members participated in this suvey aboard the NOAA ship Reuben Lasker. To learn more and view the stunning photos taken by OAI & NMFS survey team members CLICK HERE

OAI in the News: It Takes Two To Trawl For Science

WESTPORT — The Siliqua and Quinnat, two vessels from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, trawled 300 feet apart Wednesday just upriver from the Wauna Mill, the net between them slowly gathering juvenile, mostly hatchery, salmon headed down the main channel of the Columbia River toward the Pacific Ocean.

After 17 minutes of towing the net and collecting salmon, the whistles of “Col. Bogey’s March” from the movie “The Bridge on the River Kwai” started emanating from...READ MORE

It Take Two To Trawl For Science

OAI Provides Support for Steller Sea Lion Population Assessment

Ocean Associates, Inc. (OAI) was contracted by NOAA to provide field support by way of biological technicians, field research leaders, and a more senior Scientist III at remote field locations in Alaska, as well as at the Alaska Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Mammal Laboratory in Seattle, WA, as part of an Alaska Steller Sea Lion population assessment.

OAI personnel have been involved in all aspects of the research, such as assisting with field camps, counting the animals from aircraft and ashore, and analyzing photographs to determine the ages, sex, and distribution. The scientists use the information to develop computer models to estimate the reproductive capabilities and trends in population size. All the research is then assembled by...READ MORE

Stellar Sea Lions

Recognition of OAI AFS Members working on Climate Change

Climate change has been important to our understanding of fisheries since the first hook went in the water. More recently, it has become associated with change contributed by our society. Since we in “fisheries” have long studied environmental changes and their impacts on our flock, we tend to recognize that fisheries rise and fall with changes in the local and global environment, with many synchronous population changes in stocks around the world. Our understanding of these fast and vast changes gives us a distinct advantage in dealing with this complex issue. Change happens but not all change is equal. A change of 1 degree F (0.5 C) over 150 years is like noise in a system with El Niños, Pacific Decadal Oscillations, and North Atlantic Oscillations. The fisheries community has been much more reasoned in its response to climate change than many other sectors...READ MORE