Employee culture related articles such as food bank donation, holiday parties and the Lynker flag photo contest.

Lynker Helms Electronic Monitoring Success in the Pacific Longline (Tuna) Fishery


Lynker employee, Josh Tucker (pictured on the left with a member of the Teem Fish implementation team), a former NOAA Pacific Islands Region fisheries observer, has taken his hobby of building computers to the fishing industry! Lykner has teamed with NZ technology company SnapIT and Canadian fisheries innovation social enterprise
Teem Fish on a National Fish and Wildlife Federation (NFWF)-funded to pilot advanced EM solutions in the Hawaii longline (tuna) fishery. Josh learned to install and configure SnapIT’s innovative, artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled camera systems, and which Lynker and Teem Fish deployed on five commercial longline vessels participating in the pilot program – in just under three weeks.

“To be honest, I love this,” Josh said in describing the experience, “Every boat is its own giant puzzle, and making something like this work is so satisfying.”

As part of the pilot, Lynker is collaborating with SnapIT to collect, troubleshoot, and assess the value of fixed and 360-degree technology to the fishing industry and science. With our first video now captured, Josh will turn his expertise in species identification to help train the machine learning algorithms to recognize fishing activity and other important indicators such as fish age, weight, sex, distribution, and bycatch.  Josh, a new father, is thrilled to be able to be involved in the fishery while being able to remain home to raise his son, Locke. “Aside from the lack of sleep, being home with my family is much better than being at sea.” All parents can relate.

Josh has also been a thoughtful ambassador for the project, communicating the goals to captains and crews. Said Captain Craig Yeackel (pictured to the right of Josh), “I wouldn’t be doing this if it was anyone else, this is a favor to you guys, we trust you guys.”

Thanks to Josh, our partners SnapIT and Teem Fish, and all the volunteer vessel owners and captains, we are off to a successful start with much promise ahead for EM to improve how fishermen record catching effort and scientists ensure we have plenty of poke to fill our bowls now and into the future!

About SnapIT – Snap Information Technologies partners with organizations to deliver images and video effortlessly to customers, helping them to get on with your work effectively, while we focus on distributing those images of the world, to the world.

About TeemFish – TeemFish Monitoring is a Canadian social enterprise focused on empowering local fisheries with world-class innovation. TeemFish collaborates with private industry, governments, and communities to design and deliver efficient and effective electronic fisheries monitoring programs worldwide.

 

Lynker’s PMNM Native Hawaiian Program voyages to National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa for cultural exchange

In early April 2019, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument (PMNM) Native Hawaiian Program Specialist Kalani Quiocho (pictured far right, with symposium participants) visited American Samoa to support and participate in the first every Fautasi Heritage Symposium, co-hosted by the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa (NMSAS) and the American Samoa Historic Preservation Office, which was held a the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center.

The two-day symposium highlighted Samoan heritage of the fautasi watercraft and included perspectives about Hawaiian canoe heritage to carry an overall message that the canoe is the vessel that contains our cultural values and continues to empower our communities in the Pacific.

Through this exchange, and having culture at the forefront, PMNM and NMSAS staff were able to discuss ways that our sites could support one another and experience firsthand by meeting with NMSAS partners such as the National Park of American Samoa and the village community of Aunuʻu Island, which is part of the NMSAS Aunuʻu Sanctuary Unit.

For more information, contact Kalani.Quiocho@noaa.gov , Native Hawaiian Program Specialist.

Significance: Fautasi heritage in American Samoa is part of a larger cultural seascape that is rooted in Pacific Island traditions that allow our communities to access healthy and sustainable pathways for people and place. Through these collaborative site exchanges we connect to our vast ocean heritage.

U.S. Coral Reef Task Force – Translating Resilience-based Management from Theory to Practice in Hawaii

Lynker is at the forefront of helping local marine coastal managers understand how to apply resilience-building tools to better predict coral reef health, climate change impacts, and bleaching events. These invaluable inputs will enable managers to improve methods for protecting herbivorous fishes through herbivore management areas – and how they could repurpose and/or refine existing management strategies to accommodate long-term resilience building.

Our team led an in-depth assessment of global guidance on coral reef resilience and distilled it into specific recommendations for local managers looking to improve resilience in Hawaii. Working in collaboration with researchers, policy makers, and managers, we helped develop design principles for the strategic placement of a herbivore management area network as a resilience-building tools. We modified existing principles from the design of no-take area networks and then applied the guidance to a case study in the Main Hawaiian Islands. As a final step, we used Hawaii-specific design principles to lead a spatial analysis, which identified specific areas within west Hawaii and Maui Nui where a herbivore management areas could lead to greater resilience.

Lynker Supports National Marine Mammal Foundation Outreach

Lynker’s Elise Kohli serves as the National Marine Mammal Foundation (NMMF’s) Volunteer Outreach Coordinator, assisting in marine science education programs that reach K-12 students throughout the San Diego metro area.

One program of particular note is Animal Helpers, which is a collaboration between NMMF and Girl Scouts San Diego.

The objective of Animal Helpers is to educate students on training and care, specific to marine mammals. Elise helped design and give a series of workshops that presented ways that people can help animals, and animals can also help people. She connected with the Scouts and other stakeholders focusing on the unique connection between humans and animals and how animals can keep people safe and provide emotional support.

Along with other NMMF staff, Elise helped create and give a series of short presentations about NMMF’s work, as well as met with  STEM professionals to discuss future opportunities for collaboration and outreach. The events also featured interactive play with a gecko, a dog, and a hawk.

 

Historical & Cultural Seascape of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument: A Story Map

Lynker’s Joey Bennington-Castro and Jess Tuifagu developed a StoryMap of thePacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument (PRIMNM), working with Kupu Hawaii (www.kupuhawaii.org) interns to create an interactive journey into the collective heritage of this unique marine protected area, highlighting the connectivity that weaves the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument’s early historical and cultural seascape.

The PRIMNM—encompassing Wake, Johnston and Palmyra Atolls; Kingman Reef; and Howland, Baker, and Jarvis Islands—is one of the largest marine protected areas in the world and is especially unique because of its remote and widespread distribution across the central Pacific Ocean. Understanding the historical and cultural value of the PRIMNM is a priority focus for monument managers developing the PRIMNM management plan and also helps engage the global audience with this expansive seascape.

As lifecycle vendor for NOAA Fisheries and Sanctuaries in the Pacific Islands Region, Lynker is proud to have the opportunity to support cross-NOAA initiatives such as this one, which helps foster a deeper understanding of how people interacted and connected with each atoll, reef, and island of the PRIMNM before the onset of World War II.

Read more…

Access the StoryMap

Lynker Visualizes Colorado’s Drought Plan: A Story Map

Lynker, as part of a project for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, a division of the state’s Department of Natural Resources, has launched an interactive dashboard that displays drought vulnerability at the state and county level based on Colorado’s 2018 Drought Plan. To more easily visualize drought vulnerability throughout the state, Lynker created an Esri Story Map. The platform takes users through visual summaries of Colorado drought risk by sectors, using images and graphs to provide an interactive and engaging experience.

The complete interactive Story Map can be viewed here.

The opening screen of the Story Map provides an overview of County Drought Risk Scores across Colorado as well as a snapshot of drought vulnerability risk by sector. Similar to the 2018 updated Plan, the Story Map also drills down into content specific to different sectors: agriculture, recreation, socioeconomic, environment, energy, and state assets. State assets include state buildings and critical infrastructure (dams), land board revenue, state-based recreation and park visitation, aquatic species and habitat (fisheries), and protected state-owned areas.

Further information on Colorado’s 2018 Drought Plan is available at drought.gov.

Lynker Presents Independent Study of Pebble Mine Dam Failure

On Friday, March 1st, Dr. Cameron Wobus presented findings to the Commercial Fisherman for Bristol Bay from a Pebble Mine Tailings Dam Failure analysis that was conducted by Lynker. The study was developed after report scoping documents indicated there was likely to be inadequate tailings dam failure scenarios considered in the Army Corps of Engineers Draft Environmental Impact Statement. In all scenarios analyzed by Lynker, a tailings dam failure would directly impact hundreds of miles of anadromous waters.

Hydrologist Dr. Cameron Wobus is a broadly trained earth scientist with approximately 15 years of experience in geomorphology, hydrology, and environmental data analysis and modeling.

 

Dr. Wobus’ complete presentation can be found here. The Commercial Fisherman for Bristol Bay have also posted a recording of the presentation.

Lynker’s Pacific Islands observer Holly Naholowaa featured in the NOAA Fisheries Newsletter and Science Blog

Lynker’s Holly Ann Naholowaa was recently featured in the NOAA Fisheries Newsletter and Science Blog for her great work supporting the Observer program.

Great work Holly!

Observations of Fish, Birds, and Life at Sea in the Pacific Islands

February 22, 2019

Pacific Islands observer Holly Naholowaa measuring a lancetfish.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to work as a fisheries observer? Spending weeks at sea, long hours identifying and measuring fish, and all the while braving the harsh and vast environment that is the open ocean? Holly Ann Naholowaa, a veteran observer for the Hawaiʻi longline fishery, shares her experiences during a fishing trip and provides a glimpse into her life at sea.

Spotlight on Monterey Bay

Lynker’s Sophie De Beukelaer joined Monterey Bay Aquarium and Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) staff on a deep sea collection cruise within Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS) and far offshore to Guide Seamount. Data collected by the ROV and processed by MBARI during cruises like these inform MBNMS projects such as ecosystem-based management initiatives and lost fishing gear removal efforts.

Lynker in the News – Seattle Times: Tribe calls for NOAA to help rescue two ailing orcas, but scientists sent home during government shutdown

Killer whales K25 and J17 were reported to be in an unhealthy condition earlier this month.

Image caption: J17 rolls on her side, showing the dramatic constriction in the shape of her neck, which should be a smooth line. The so-called peanut head is a sign of starvation in killer whales. (Center for Whale Research. Taken Dec. 31, 2018 in Haro Strait near Victoria. Center for Whale Research under DFO SARA permit 38)

The Lummi Nation urged federal officials Wednesday to launch an emergency response to help two ailing southern-resident killer whales — but how do you call for help?

The unprecedented government shutdown, continuing into its fourth week, has stymied any attempt by the tribe or veterinarians ready to help killer whales K25 and J17, among the 75 remaining southern residents that frequent Puget Sound.

The policy makers and scientists with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration who would approve and coordinate any such response, such as for the emergency rescue plan for J50 last summer, are unavailable during the shutdown.

The emergency stranding network operated by non-federal personnel under contract to NOAA is continuing to operate, said Lauren DeMaio, the marine-mammal-stranding assistant under contract for Lynker Technologies.

The tribe urges that what was learned in the planning to rescue J50 could be deployed now, before it is too late. “We must act now if we are to save two of our ailing relatives,” Lawrence Solomon, secretary of the Lummi Nation, wrote to Kristin Wilkinson, NOAA’s regional stranding coordinator for Washington and Oregon. The tribe considers the orcas family members.

“It’s very frustrating,” DeMaio said. “Everyone wants to be working. Unfortunately we are not all allowed to work.”

Wilkinson’s email indicated she is unavailable during the shutdown. The one available public-information officer at NOAA for the entire agency could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Marty Haulena, staff veterinarian at the Vancouver Aquarium who helped with the emergency response for J50, said vets are willing to help but need permission to do so from NOAA, and a plan.

“We have been putting our heads together,” Haulena said. “But we are a bit stuck.”

Why the animals are thin is not known — and that is part of what a veterinary assessment could learn. It may or may not be a matter of not having enough to eat; there could be another cause, such as disease, Haulena said.

This would be an even harder rescue than with 3-year-old J50, Haulena said, because they would be working with big adults, one of them a male, rather than a 3-year old — itself an unprecedented effort. In addition, at this time of year the whales also are often inaccessible in winter weather, on the open sea along the West Coast.

Ken Balcomb, founding director of the Center for Whale Research, was the first to announce the two whales’ thin condition after seeing them New Year’s Eve. Since then, J17 has further declined, Balcomb said.

“She’s going to die. There’s no doubt. I don’t know when, but we are going to lose her,” he said Wednesday.

J17 is the matriarch in her family and the mother of J35, or Tahlequah, the orca who raised worldwide concern when she carried her dead calf last year refusing to let it go for more than 1,000 miles. J17 plays an important role finding and sharing food with the rest of her family. A key provider, losing her hunting prowess could hurt the rest of her family, the Lummi Nation warned in its letter.

K25 is actually looking better, Balcomb said. “He appears to be holding his own, though that could change at any time.” He said a rescue plan — even if it could be put together — is impractical if not impossible, particularly at this time of year.

“The thing to do is fix this on the other end — the only savior is the food supply, get them more food.”

The southern residents eat mostly chinook, the fattiest salmon of all, though in the winter as much as half their diet can be chum and other salmon.

The Lummis urged action. “We all have a sacred obligation to take action, now, and we need your help and support to save our relatives.”