NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center
N E W SNarragansett -- The Narragansett Laboratory of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service will hold an open house for the public Saturday, August 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A variety of family-style activities are planned, including a marine touch-tank, displays of Narragansett Bay habitat and shark habitat, fish-print making, tours of the on-site research aquarium to view colossal fish, use of microscopes, computer activities, and other "fishy" activities. The Narragansett Laboratory is located at 28 Tarzwell Drive across from the URI Bay campus in Narragansett, Rhode Island.
The Narragansett Laboratory is one of five research laboratories in the Northeast Science Center, which is the science arm of NOAA Fisheries in the Northeastern United States. Marine scientists and engineers at the Narragansett Laboratory study sharks, monitor the long-term health of Narragansett Bay, and develop new fishering gear that is safer for whales and other marine mammals.
Other areas of research at the laboratory include studies of currents, nutrients, temperature changes, and fish populations. Research at the Narragansett Laboratory contributes to a better understanding of the complex ecology of the ocean and provides data fisheries managers need to make good decisions.
Sharks are important to the ocean's ecosystems and to both recreational and commercial fishermen. A small group of scientists at the Narragansett Laboratory studies how sharks migrate, how long they live, how fast they grow and how they reproduce. To date, more than 130,000 large Atlantic sharks have been tagged, and the results used to answer some of these questions.
Other scientists at the laboratory are monitoring Narragansett Bay's health with an undulating, state-of-the-art oceanographic "shuttle" system that carries a payload of space-age electronic sensors. Once a month, this special instrument is towed behind a research vessel through the waters of Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island Sound, Mount Hope Bay and the Providence River, measuring factors such as temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen concentration, light penetration, and the amount and growth rates of plankton.
The results of the bay surveys are shared with the Rhode Department of Environmental Management to ensure that bay managers have an up-to-date picture of the condition of bay waters.
Engineers at the Narragansett Laboratory are working with the fishing industry to develop commercial fishing gear that catches only certain the sizes and species of fish and avoids unwanted "bycatch." Fisheries engineers are also testing and developing fishing gear less likely to entangle whales and other marine mammals.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Information about NOAA and the National Marine Fisheries is available on the NOAA website.