Solution specific articles for Marine, Ocean, Coastal, Science & Information.

Over 82,000 Pounds of Trash Removed to Protect Vulnerable Hawaiian Wildlife

Papahanaumokuakea Marine Debris Project’s (PMDP) Lynker staff, in partnership with USFWS, removed 82,000 pounds of hurricane debris from Lalo (the French Frigate Shoal), a remote atoll within Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, that provides essential habitat for nesting seabirds, threatened green sea turtles, and endangered Hawaiian monk seals. For 16 days they collected derelict fishing nets, plastics and hurricane debris including lumber, roofing, steel cable, scrap metal, boat hulls, tires, and fiberglass.

“Papahanaumokuakea is the most amazing landscape on earth, both ecologically and culturally, and one that sustains our most vulnerable Hawaiian wildlife species,” said Lynker’s Kevin O’Brien. “Picture tiny sandy islands where nearly every square foot of land is used by seabirds, turtles and seals for critical nesting, burrowing, basking and pupping. So it’s a good feeling when we come away from one of these cleanups with a massive pile of rubbish, because each pound of debris removed from this landscape directly translates into square footage of new, safe, available space for wildlife to use. This type of tangible positive action is what our organization works to provide for the wildlife of Papahanaumokuakea.”

Lynker secures funding for COVID 19 Community Assistance on Hawaii Island

Lynker is pleased to announce that we have received an award from Hawaii County’s CARES Act funding to support families and children in need as a result of the COVID19 pandemic. Our Sustainable Pacific Program, working with and through three non-profits (as mentioned in the attached video) – Montessori Education Center of Hawaii (MECH), Kama‘aina Kids, and Friends of the Future – secured funding to support social distancing requirements for MECH students, emergency childcare for essential workers and other families, and community food assistance in the Waimea area. Funding will also be used for personal protective equipment, additional staffing, scholarships, and enhanced cleaning costs related to COVID19 at MECH and the Kama‘aina Kids facility. Funding for Friends of the Future will help them continue the Grab-n-Go meal program that has provided meals twice per week to the community since the pandemic began in March 2020, and allow them to provide daily lunches to children at Kama‘aina Kids. These worthy causes dovetail nicely with Lynker’s regional focus on Pacific Island communities and science education.

Said Ms. Sarah Pautzke, Lynker’s local project coordinator for this effort, “We could not be happier for these organizations. They have all, in their own way, stepped up to meet the challenges posed to Waimea area families by this pandemic – as have many others. We are so thankful to Hawaii County for supporting these efforts and we at Lynker are honored to provide project management and coordination support!”

Lynker and MKF received grant from Hawaii County CARES Act

Lynker is a proud partner of Malama Kai Foundation (MKF), providing human resource services for its executive director position, as well as grant development support. For those of you who have not heard of MKF they are a Hawaii based non-profit best-known for its support of Hawaii’s Day-Use Mooring Buoy Program, Reef Talks, and Ocean Warriors. Now, there’s another way that MKF is helping our community! MKF has received a grant from the County of Hawaii, Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to fund youth scholarships in partnership with Jack’s Diving Locker and The Nakoa Foundation. Jack’s Diving Locker is providing an award winning line-up of snorkel and scuba camps for kids ages 6-18 and The Nakoa Foundation offers day-camps based on sailing, and Hawaiian culture and language focusing on social tolerance and environmental responsibility through the perpetuation of cultural traditions and practices aboard traditional Hawaiian voyaging canoes. To learn more about Malama Kai Foundation.

Lynker Project Now Also Benefits At-Risk Community

As this year’s bottomfish fishery-independent survey comes to a close, the fishermen participating in the survey have met the challenges of the pandemic to once again produce an incredibly robust data set. The bottomfish caught during the survey which are highly prized by local community are normally provided as bio-samples to the life history staff at the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center for use in the fishery stock assessment, but only the otoliths (bones in the ears that can be used to determine age) and the gonads are all that is necessary for analysis while the fillets are discarded. In an effort to give back to the community in some small way, Lynker has piloted a program to donate the fillets from bottomfish bio-samples to help feed the local community, which has become a case study in ‘ohana’. 

Our first bottomfish donation (about 20 lbs of mixed opakapaka, ehu, kalekale and hapu’upu’u fillets) was caught on Nathan Abe’s boat, Ride On, while surveying off of the Big Island. The fish were shipped to Oahu, and delivered to Ashley Watts, owner of the sustainable seafood distribution non-profit, Local I’a (Local I’a | Community Supported Fishery | Hawaii). Ashley’s fish cutter, Rodel, then filleted the fish at the commercial kitchen Ashley shares with Ed Kenny’s (Ed Kenney) Mud Hen Water restaurant and donated to Ka’iulani Odom, program manager for  Kokua Kalihi Valley  which provides meals and organic produce to local at-risk seniors (among many other groups).

This level of cooperation serves as a reminder of the connectedness of communities in the Islands, and that we really are “all in this together”. Many thanks to the cooperative research fishers, the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center’s lead, Ben Richards, and the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group’s Clay Tam for supporting this pilot as well as Local I’a and Kokua Kalihi Valley for their inspirational commitment to the community. 

Ashley Watts (Local I’a) and Ka’iulani Odom (KKV) with the donated bottomfish fillets (above), Ashley Watts holds a donated Opakapaka while Rodel processes the donated fish (right)

“Great job! Forest ties to the project in terms of benefits beyond the science is huge in putting this project at a whole different level from others. As benefits from the project go direct to helping /feeding our island community! ” – Clay Tam.

Lynker’s Port Coordinator, Forest O’Neill, with a nice Opakapaka!

Fall 2020 Bottomfish Fishery-Independent Survey in Hawaii Earning Praise

The coronavirus pandemic has placed enormous pressure on all aspects of the Hawaiian community. In addition to the personal health and economic toll, it has hamstrung NOAA’s ability to perform annual surveys using their large research vessels to collect mission critical data. One such project is the survey of our local bottomfish resources. Normally, the 224 foot NOAA R/V Oscar Elton Sette would perform a significant share of the survey mission, but due to the unique challenges created by COVID-19, this mission (as most others nationally) has been cancelled.

In addition to the work done from the Sette, local bottomfishers, contracted through Lynker and our partner Pacific Islands Fisheries Group (PIFG), conduct hook-and-line sampling using a sampling design developed with PIFSC scientists. In a typical year, these cooperative research fishers conduct two-thirds of the overall sampling. This year they have stepped up to the plate and are conducting 100% of the sampling.
These small, open-deck fishing vessels, crewed by a small number of people, represent a much safer alternative to the large NOAA Ship. Nevertheless, all parties are taking every precaution to make sampling as safe as possible. Crews work as isolated units, self-evaluations with temperature checks are conducted each morning prior to departure, and masks are worn at all times.

While this partnership with the local community has always been important, this year it has been absolutely critical to the continued success of the survey. The effort has caught the attention of NOAA leadership, earning praise from Regional PIFSC Administrator Mike Seki, and Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet, the Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere / Deputy NOAA Administrator, and serves as a model for successful operations during these increasingly challenging times.

As in years past, this data will be incorporated into the Main Hawaiian Islands Deep7 Bottomfish Stock Assessment, used by managers to set commercial catch limits for the fishery.

This successful effort has been led by a collaboration between NOAA’ Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group cooperative, and Lynker. Lynker’s Project Manager, Forest O’Neill, has led our company’s collaboration with PIFSC, PIFG, and the outstanding vessel crews and observers in our collective efforts to complete this year’s survey in and around the main Hawaiian Islands.

Photo Caption: Capt. Mike Abe and crew member Riki Hun of F/V Ao Shibi IV with the day’s biosamples, four opakapaka, a lehi, and a hapuupuu. August 15, 2020 off Big Island, Hawaii (Photo by Lynker/PIFG observer Gary Shirakata).

 

Emergency Maintenance Under a Bridge, At Night, in a Pandemic

On April 12, 2020, strong storms rolled through the Charleston, South Carolina area with wind gusts around 40 miles per hour. The next day, Lynker, working with NOAA’s Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services, was notified that the battery voltage of the NOAA air gap sensor under the Ravenel bridge was dropping and not renewing during the day. The sensor measures the distance between low steel obstructions to the water surface to ensure safe ship clearance under the bridge.

The sensor is strictly solar powered. It was clear an emergency maintenance trip to replace the solar panels was needed. Planning a repair during a pandemic required more time and coordination.  The team developed a more robust way to anchor the solar panels to the sensor.

Even under non-pandemic circumstances, to work on the Ravenel Bridge requires completely closing the road lane next to the station. The city doesn’t allow lane closures until after 9:00PM EST to minimize city impacts. The team put together the new solar tower during the day and worked through the night installing the tower, replacing old equipment, rerunning cables, and adding new antennas for a variety of satellite connections.

Thanks to our amazing staff, the Ravenel Bridge sensor is back and better than before.

Storyboarding for the Perfect Visualization

These days, video is quickly becoming the most popular medium. However, making a great video is no easy task. Michael (Mike) Pai, working with NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management, makes it look easy. He works with project teams to distill the message, storyboard the content, and put it all into an appealing package.

While the process sounds simple, it can be very complex. Mike starts out finessing the message to determine the medium: “fast draw” video (which he hand draws himself!), animations, or a more traditional video of images and clips. The creation of each type of video takes layers of visual and audio components, perfectly timed, to get all the pieces to come together and make magic. Check out Mike’s fast draw videos highlighting the dangers of storm surge, the coral reef economy, or his video showcasing the wonders of America’s coasts.

Lynker Wins NOAA NEFSC Contract!

Lynker won 2 NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center (NEFSC) contracts!

The Lynker Team is excited to support the NEFSC Fisheries Monitoring and Research Division (FMRD), including the Fisheries Sampling Branch’s (FSB) Northeast Fisheries Observer Program (NEFOP). Lynker also won as a subcontractor on a Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) contract to support data services, analysis, administration and management at the NEFSC FMRD.

Under these awards, Lynker employees will focus on the collection, processing, and management of fishery data and utilization of industry platforms to obtain data on fish biology, environmental variables, and socioeconomic factors in support of stock assessments and ecosystem-based fishery management. Activities will also support at-sea observer and monitoring operations aboard commercial vessels and at shoreside facilities, training and certification of observers and monitors, data quality and management activities, and advancement of new technologies to support these activities.

Lynker Wins Award to Continue Supporting NOAA’s MBNMS!

Lynker is thrilled to receive an award for a 4-year contract to support NOAA’s Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). This win is a continuation of our support to MBNMS, having won the previous 5-year contract.

Designated in 1992, MBNMS is a federally protected marine area offshore of California’s central coast. It is one of our nation’s largest marine sanctuaries, larger than Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks combined. We are honored to continue supporting MBNMS and protecting this underwater treasure!

Our service to MBNMS involves assisting sanctuary managers and staff with a variety of functions related to resource protection and government and community relations in Monterey. We also support MBNMS’ visitor center operations at the Coastal Discovery Center (CDC) in San Simeon, CA and Sanctuary Exploration Center (SEC) in Santa Cruz.
The CDC provides interpretation, education, and outreach about natural and cultural resources in coastal California, from Cambria to Big Sur. The SEC is the premiere visitor center for MBNMS and affiliated with the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, a non-profit partner of the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

Check out this video made by Lynker’s Nick Ingram which highlights our work at the Sanctuary Exploration Center: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dwf9-km_FnxGg_mjs8c1kr3bS-4KPY3P/view

Lynker Wins GARFO IT Support Contract!

Lynker won the re-compete of our Greater Atlantic Fisheries Regional Office (GARFO) IT
Support contract. This continues our support of this important office and is
a direct result of our staff and their dedication to the success of GARFO. Our efforts support
the GARFO Technology and Data Management (TDM) division, which is responsible for providing
technical support for approximately 250 internal and many external customers (fisheries
management councils, states, other fishery management groups, and commercial fishing
industry users). Our data management, web development, mobile application development,
and help desk staff supports all of GARFO’s sites on the Eastern Seaboard Maine to North
Carolina and external customers in the fishing management and fishing communities.