Wednesday, July 11, 2007

First Day - Signs of Life

Our first day out at sea and conditions have looked very good. Just a few hours out of San Diego, and we've got great weather, the right water temperatures for Pacific bluefin tuna and waters rich in bait. Good signs of ocean life are everywhere -- sea lions, seabirds, spinner dolphins, and fish jumping. Today we found a large school of albacore tuna and fished through them for several hours. We practiced drilling the team through tag and release operations.

To tag the fish, we have to catch them on a line with a barbless circle hook, then move them onto the swim step where a team puts the fish in a sling and hands it up to a second team on board the vessel. We then move the fish into the surgery station where Kurt Schaefer or Barb Block places an archival tag into the tuna.

Over several expeditions, we’ve tagged over 386 Pacific bluefin. The two bluefin that were tagged today were 97 and 110 cm in length -- exactly what we hoped for. A smaller fish of 65 cm was loaded on board for our live bluefin collection. After today's start, we have high hopes for the next few days.

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