Today we’re heading to an area about 12 miles into the gulf – it’s already open to fishing but officials say retesting is also done.
“The fish move around the water column, so water is not static and neither are the fish that move through it,” says Federal On Scene coordinator and USCG Rear Admiral Paul Zukunft. The new federal on scene coordinator rear admiral Paul Zukunft was on board to see how fish samples are taken.
“We are working with all of science all of academia to make sure we have the most accurate reporting possible,” says Zukunft. Once the catch hits the deck – that’s when the fishing stops and the science begins. NOAA researchers step in to pick out fish for further study – what are known as target species.
“Most of these that are going to go over are not target species that they look for in the gulf,” says Fisheries Biologist Lee Saxon. This trip yielded little in the way of commercial fishing for testing since this sample was taken in the afternoon – most samples are taken early in the morning. What is useable is carefully cataloged and wrapped until we get back to shore.
“We use a very strict chain of custody so there’s chain of custody forms that will be filled out and as we transfer those fish for analysis,” says Lisa Defosse with the NOAA lab in Pascagoula.