February 2003 eMOLT Update

Since submitting our previous quarterly progress report in Dec 2002,   an additional 27 multi-month records of temperature and 3 multi-month records of salinity have been committed to the eMOLT database.  Most of these new time series were submitted by the Atlantic Offshore Lobstermen (from the outer continental shelf) and the Massachusetts Lobstermen (from inside Mass Bay). Several records were also obtained from the Mass Division of Marine Fisheries.  An equal amount of data is expected from the eMOLT participants of Maine, to be downloaded during the Fish Forum at the end of this month.

Given these new bottom temperature records from 2002,  we had the first opportunity to make an inter-annual comparison with those from 2001.  As presented in a seminar at the Mass Lobstermen Weekend and to be presented in more detail  at the  Fish Forum (8:30am Sat. March 1), the preliminary analysis suggest a significantly warmer summer  2002 (within Mass Bay especially) that was partially  due to differences in the local wind fields from one year to the next.  Additional  water column  data from both the Mass Water Resource Authority and the P-town Coastal Studies Center is evidently available to investigate this process in more detail.

Collaboration with the Gulf of Maine Ocean Observing System project was stepped up last month.  Plans are  now underway to serve the eMOLT temperature and salinity records through the GOMOOS web page at www.gomoos.org  where a user may extract time series by selected lobster zones and depth zones.  While we will continue to serve all the eMOLT temperature and salinity data as  we currently do from the "Data Access" page of www.emolt.org ,  it is hoped that, given the professional expertise of the GOMOOS web masters, the data will be more readily viewed/plotted.  The objective is to make the data accessible to both the scientific and fishing communities in  quick, user friendly displays.  As in the case of the emolt.org page, sensitive position data will not be served.

Given some funding surplus from the first few phase of eMOLT,  an order for 50 more temperature probes will be submitted later this month by the Gulf of Maine Lobster Foundation to be evenly distributed among the four lobster associations.  Negotiations are underway with the US Coast Guard to install probes on selected aids to navigation buoys where emolt data is lacking.

Our funding agency, the Northeast Consortium, is expected to issue another call for proposals later this spring.  Preliminary plans have been drafted to request more eMOLT funds for drifter deployments. The basic idea is that inexpensive (PVC), coded  drifters  are deployed by participating lobstermen from downeast Maine and reported  (via a GPS or LORAN fix called in on a cell phone hot line) by other lobstermen downstream.  To see the rationale and  up-to-date description of this  eMOLT "Phase IV" project, visit the "Proposal Documents" page of www.emolt.org.

For further information contact: James.Manning@noaa.gov

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