Monday, August 3, 2020

Deep Sea Fishing!

Last Sunday I had the opportunity to go out to the Stellwagen Bank Sanctuary to do some deep sea fishing, whale watching and phytoplankton drifts. Stellwagen Bank is a large section of the Northern Atlantic that has been designated a National Marine Sanctuary by Congress in 1992. This area was protected because it is a unique geologic formation of the sea floor. In this stretch of ocean the Bank or sea floor rises sharply from over a hundred feet to around 65 feet. Deep sea nutrients are upwelled here because of the Bank allowing lots of wildlife diversity. Here you can find animals ranging from the endangered Right Whales to a large variety of sea birds.

Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary 

While in Stellwagen we had the chance to see a number of pods of Humpback Whales! Before then I had never seen whales in real life. The most shocking part about seeing them was their sheer size. I've never seen anything living that is that large. We got to see their flukes and even saw one whale slap its fin on the water which apparently is a sign of aggression. Another animal that we had the privilege to see was a Leatherback Sea Turtle. Leatherbacks are rare and endangered. I didn't even know that turtles lived up here. The turtle that we saw had a jellyfish in its mouth! 

Leatherback Sea Turtle
Humpback Whale Fluke

While Fishing we saw a number of boats out Tuna fishing. We were fishing for bottom feeders meaning fish that live close to the sea floor. We caught Haddock, Whiting, Mackerel and redfish. When we did our Plankton drift I learned that underwater things look a little green because of phytoplankton. Phytoplankton are part of the base of the marine food chain.
Me Catching a Haddock 

I'm so thankful to have gotten the opportunity to spend the day with this group of amazing people!

(L-R) Captain Mike, 1st Mate Bradley, Roy, Me, Krill (marine biologist), Michael, And Vanessa 

STH Deep Sea Crew 

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