PRESS RELEASE (6/30/03) (Appeared in the San Juan Star 7/4/03)
Caribbean Fishery Management Council (CFMC)
268 Muñoz Rivera Avenue, Suite 1108 San Juan PR 00918
What lies on the sea floor of the Hind Bank?
The scientists were very impressed with the pictures taken of very healthy corals lying about 40 meters (120 feet) below the surface, which cover the sea floor of the no-take Hind Bank closed area. This non-fishing area was established as per recommendation of fishers, scientists and government officials in the area known as the Hind Bank off Southwest St. Thomas in 1999. Since then, the red hinds and other species of fish have been monitored by Dr. Rick Nemeth and his group of scientists at the Center for Marine and Environmental Studies (CMES) of the University of the Virgin Islands. In June this year, cooperative research among the Caribbean Fishery Management Council, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, USVI DPNR Division of Fish and Wildlife, the Universities of the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, NASA and NOAA Fisheries yielded over 7,000 high quality photographs of the ocean bottom along the shelf break from south of St. Thomas and St. John. Within the Hind Bank there are well-developed corals with 100% cover, meaning that all corals seen were alive and well in this area.
Meet the scientists on board
The people on board the Research Vessel (R/V) Chapman from the University of Puerto Rico included: Ms. Stacy Albritton, USVI DPNR Division of Fish and Wildlife; Dr. Elizabeth Kadisson and Dr. Rick Nemeth from CMES, University of the Virgin Islands; Dr. Hanumant Singh, Dr. Ryan Eustice, Dr. Chris Roman and Dr. Ali Can from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution; Dr. Liane Guild from NASA, Dr. Roy Armstrong (Chief Scientist), Dr. Yasmín Detrés from the Department of Marine Sciences, Dr. Fernando Gilbes and Ms. Jeannette Arce from the Department of Geology of the University of Puerto Rico and Graciela García-Moliner from the Caribbean Fishery Management Council. The cruise took place from June 2 through June 6, 2003. The autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) SeaBED completed 9 successful missions. The missions were carried out at night over a range of depths of 90 to over 210 feet (30-70 m). The AUV SeaBED is given instructions before going in the water on how deep and in what direction to go. It completes the transects or each mission on its own and surfaces when the mission is completed. The work will continue next year.
Press Release (CFMC)
The first photograph shows some of the scientists on board the R/V Chapman with the AUV SeaBED.
The second photograph below shows healthy colonies of coral from the sea floor of the Hind Bank, St. Thomas.