Success stories/projects we want to feature on the overall Success stories page.

Lynker Collaborates with the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group and local fishers to assess bottomfish in Hawaii

Lynker and the Pacific Islands Fisheries Group (PIFG), a Hawaii-based research cooperative, have been out on the water this fall, sampling in 75 fishing locations to determine abundance and health of Hawaii’s “Deep 7” bottomfish, including opakapaka (pink snapper), onaga (longtail snapper), ehu (squirrelfish snapper), kalekale (Von Siebold’s snapper), gindai (Brigham’s snapper), lehi (silverjaw snapper), and hapuʻupuʻu (Seale’s grouper).
These fish species are jointly managed by state and federal authorities, and our work, funded by NOAA Fisheries, will help scientists, policy-makers, and the local community better ensure the sustainability of these important stocks (currently not overfished) now and into the future.
The research fishing portion of the survey is now 44% complete, with overall survey completion at 66%.
A huge shout-out to the local fishing captains and observers, who spend days on the water, often in less than ideal conditions, collecting the samples around the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and the Big Island, in making this survey a success.

Scavenger Hunt in Rota and Saipan to Gain LIDAR Data

Lynker employees Jamie Carter and Ross Winans recently surveyed sites in the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI) supporting @NOAA Digital Coast’s LIDAR validation work. In addition, they were able to acquire NGS-compliant data at several of the benchmarks that NGS needs for the Mariana Terrestrial Reference Frame of 2022 (MATRF2022) – all while lugging around over 350 pounds of equipment!

They travelled to Rota, Saipan, and Tinian, hiking approximately 25 sites per island. Our work is part of the NOAA Office for Coastal Management’s Digital Coast and critically useful for restoring infrastructure and mitigating hazards.

Lidar data is commonly used and accessed for the rest of the U.S., but none existed for the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas Islands (CNMI). Local managers can now use this data to create inundation and storm surge models, shoreline maps, tsunami models and zones, and habitat maps. Additionally, this data will be used to create emergency response plans and assist many coastal resource managers, scientists, and emergency response personnel with disaster preparedness. 

Local and federal agencies had a large stake in this project, while community involvement and support was crucial throughout. NOAA, FEMA, and USDA are all heavily invested in LIDAR data, and this project enhanced their collaboration on data collection and processing. Additionally, we worked with NGS to perform quality assurance on all of the data and be compliant with their standards.

Trekking through these islands was like a large scavenger hunt to find each site, especially the ones with challenging access points and location descriptions – find the corner of the fence post (that no longer exists) and your mark to find the site will be there (but may be buried).

 

Lynker Team Helps Ocean Planners With Easy to Read Reports

Get an easy-to-read report to learn what’s happening in your area of the ocean! A new tool from @MarineCadastre, OceanReports, includes descriptive infographics and supporting data for use in offshore planning, permitting, environmental review, and more. Lynker team members provided support throughout the creation and release of the tool. See it here: https://marinecadastre.gov/oceanreports/@-10737743.881037742,4753280.983019757/4 

Lynker Helps Ensure Online Training Reaches Record Number of Registrants

Lynker is actively engaged in bringing @NOAA Digital Coast’s Using Flood Exposure Maps webinar to a record number of participants. (Click here for more information: https://coast.noaa.gov/digitalcoast/training/flood-exposure.html)

This training connects communities with an expert to hear their experience with engaging stakeholders in discussions about hazards and risks. 

The rising costs and dangers associated with coastal flooding are motivating communities to assess the people, places, and resources at risk. NOAA Digital Coast’s Using Flood Exposure Maps webinar connects communities with experts who have used maps to engage stakeholders in discussions about local hazards and risk. At the end of the training, participants are able to recognize challenges and techniques for using these maps to facilitate productive conversations about resilience. 

The July webinar offering received a record number of registrants – 349! In comparison, over the last two years and eight webinars there have been 411 registrants total. Lynker staff worked to spread the word utilizing a variety of forms of outreach. Regional staff distributed a flyer over email, while information went out in a monthly newsletter to almost 2,500 people. 

 

Lynker Promotes Fishing for Energy and Association of Pacific Ports Partnership

Lynker scientist and ESA specialist Sarah Pautzke presented on Fishing for Energy at the Association of Pacific Ports (APP) annual conference held in Portland, OR in July 2019. Fishing for Energy is a National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF.org) initiative designed to help repurpose marine debris collected voluntarily by commercial and recreational fishermen into useful, sustainable, clean energy. Fishermen deposit debris in special bins at ports, which local companies collect and process into products and/or fuel.

Ms. Pautzke described the issue with fishermen catching derelict fishing gear on the high seas, keeping it aboard while they fish to reduce the probability of it entangling their gear again or their propellers, then throwing it back over before returning to port because the ports charge disposal fees. The Hawaii Longline Fleet at Pier 38 in Honolulu worked with NOAA, Schnitzer Steel, and the Covanta waste-to-energy plant to provide a waste bin at the pier for returning fishermen. Lynker is partnering with NOAA PIRO to pursue a grant to establish the bins in San Francisco and Long Beach. Sarah made the pitch to the Port of Long Beach along with the other ports to see if other ports are interested in participating in the effort.

She also presented Lynker’s expertise to the port audience so they better understand how Lynker can fit in to their work – from biological assessments for proposed work, to grant drafting and management, to staffing.  APP members were interested in our company because we’re a new type of company to them and we’re very interested in partnering, as are they (as opposed to just selling something to them). They welcomed Lynker to their organization and asked us to return in the future.  Here’s to building new partnerships throughout the Pacific!

Lynker Sucks: The AlgaeVac Project

Lynker Sucks… invasive alien algae off a coral reef in Maunalua Bay, Oahu 

Lynker has partnered with non-profit stewardship organization, Mālama Maunalua (MM), to remove several species of invasive alien algae (IAA) in Maunalua Bay. Mālama Maunalua has continuously monitored the IAA: Gorilla Ogo, Leather Mudweed, and Prickly Seaweed, in the Paiko Restoration Area to help measure and keep track of the effectiveness of the huki (hand removal) program. And now thanks to a National Fish and Wildlife Grant, Lynker has partnered with MM to take this restoration effort to the next level.

Using an aquatic vacuum pump system mounted on a kayak barge (the AquaVac), Lynker technicians are removing the IAA from areas further from shore than what was accessible to the huki program, increasing the restoration area. Teams of at least four Lynker technicians go out in the bay when the tide is appropriately low and use the AlgaeVac to suck up the invasive species. The algae is then bagged and transported to local farmers in the same ahupua‘a, or traditional land division, to use as fertilizer. We expect to have our technicians removing IAA for 100 days over the next six months.

Lynker bioacoustician helps NOAA deepen and enhance our understanding of humpback whales and their habitats in the Monument

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (HIHWNMS) Research Specialist and Lynker employee Eden Zang served as lead bioacoustician on a two week expedition to the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument (PMNM) aboard research vessel Searcher (searcherhawaii.com). The mission focused on the deployment of five acoustic recorders in various locations across PMNM as well as a planned recovery of one acoustic recorder at Maro Reef that was  deployed in October 2018. In addition, Lynker will help document and interpret the overall research process for future use in Sanctuary education and outreach efforts.
The passive acoustic recorder packages will help NOAA study the presence and distribution of humpback whales in PMNM waters. Our personnel will also help monitor additional biological and anthropogenic sources of sound that contribute to the soundscape of the Greater Pacific region. These recorders are part of the national NOAA/SanctSound project examining soundscapes across seven national marine sanctuaries and one marine national monument. This program is a continuation of ongoing monitoring and research and will help NOAA measure sound levels and characterize acoustic conditions in sanctuaries.
For more information about our research efforts, contact NOAA Federal program lead Marc Lammers at Marc.Lammers@noaa.gov.
Significance: Advances the management plan’s objective to deepen and enhance understanding of humpback whales and their habitat by exploring the way humpback whales in the central North Pacific Ocean utilize different areas in waters off Hawaiʻi.

PIROP Legend Michael Clark – 3,400 sea days and counting

Lynker’s Michael Clark is a Pacific Islands Region Observer Program (PIROP) legend, having recently completed his 3,400th sea day in May 2019 – some quick math will tell you that “Uncle Mike” has spent almost 10 years of his life on board Hawaiian longline (tuna) fishing vessels contributing to NOAA’s understanding of commercial fishing effort, endangered species population dynamics, and other scientific research in the Pacific.

When not at sea, Mike enjoys watching football with his family. It’s only appropriate that his favorite team happens to be the one with a marine mammal as a mascot.

To commemorate Mike’s achievement, Lynker presented Mike (at the left, with Lynker Vice President Liz Tarquin) with a Dan Marino-autographed jersey at a small gathering of fellow observers, friends, and colleagues at NOAA’s new Inouye Research Center on Ford Island on June 17, 2019.  

Uncle Mike started observing on 2002. His spirit, work ethic, tenacity, and reliability have made him a legend within the observer and fishing communities. He has also become an exceptional mentor and resource for new observers entering the program.

When asked, what’s kept him going for so long, Mike humbly says, “Every trip is different, you always learn and see something new! My dream was always to be a marine biologist, and this job has gotten me there, and I love it!”

Mike is always ready to talk story. A man with an easy laugh and a quick smile, we are lucky to have him. Mahalo Nui Loa, Uncle Mike.

On behalf of all our Lynker staff here in Hawaii, we wish Uncle Mike continued success on the sea, and many mahalos for his years of hard work in challenging conditions.

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 Makes a Big Splash at Oahu Elementary School’s Career Day

Lynker’s Observer Program Port Coordinator, Erin Emanuel, made a big splash at the Keoneula Elementary School Career Day, held May 10, 2019. Erin was one of 30 guest speakers sharing what they do with over 170 third graders (including Erin’s twins) and hosting tables and demonstrations in the cafeteria. Erin’s talk and table focused on marine science, and included life sized models of turtles, fish, and birds found in the Greater Pacific as well as the gear scientists use to capture and record interactions, behaviors, and other information about marine species and their habitats in and around Hawaii.

 

The biggest hit was Erin’s ocean safety suit demonstration – as part of at-sea survival training, Lynker marine scientists like Erin must be able to put on these life-saving suits in less than one minute. Everyone at the event will definitely need more practice!

 

Erin said, “I basically explained my job as a Lynker observer. It was a blast!” Lynker believes it is never too early to inspire the next generation of marine scientists!