Thursday, April 30, 2015

Bahamas Spring 2015 | Needlefish Seine

Aquarium divers are on an expedition to the Bahamas right now! They will collect fish destined for the Giant Ocean Tank. Chris will be blogging live from the boat with pictures and stories about what it takes to bring fish from the Bahamas to Boston.

With weather still keeping us from donning our scuba tanks, we decided to try our luck collecting at the surface rather than underwater: seining for needlefish in Dollar Harbor.

Seining begins under stormy clouds
It takes a large team of people to use a 100' seine... 13 in this case: 2 at each end of the seine, 4 water "beaters" per side as its pulled towards shore, and a snorkeler to undo any snags on the lead line (lower side, on sea floor). 

Once close to the beach, the seine is collected and we assess our haul. Today our first try was a huge success. We kept 60 of about 150 needlefish (the others were released alive) and we also found some other small critters including mojaras, parrotfishes, flounder and pipefish. 

Assessing the haul

Needlefish are very sensitive, so we use caution when handling them by wearing gloves.  

Needlefish in seine net

Bucket: Step one in transport back to boat

We transferred them from net to bucket, bucket to cooler, then once back on the boat, from cooler to clear bag and into the live well, counting them as they swim into their temporary home before their flight back to Boston this weekend.

Cooler: Step two in transport back to boat

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