Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC) Fishery Resource Analysis and Monitoring FRAM - Groundfish Ecology


Surveys in Untrawlable Habitat
Surveys in Untrawlable Habitat
The NMFS Untrawlable Habitat Strategic Initiative (UHSI) was started in 2013 to identify and quantify biases associated with mobile survey vehicles (i.e., remotely operated vehicle (ROV), autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), human-occupied submersible (HOV), and towed camera) used to count ¿shes in complex habitats that preclude the use of bottom trawls. Following on a two-year Gulf of Mexico study focused on a snapper / grouper complex, the UHSI moved to the West Coast to address a critical need to quantify the response of West Coast rock¿shes (genus Sebastes) to mobile survey vehicles. In 2016, a pilot testbed experiment was initiated
on a deep-water rocky bank (100-150m) in the Southern California Bight – a site characterized by diverse and abundant assemblages of rock¿shes and a long history of HOV, AUV, and ROV surveys. MOUSS stereo cameras and orthogonal DIDSON imaging sonars were integrated into two instrumented and novel autonomous ¿xed platforms, which were deployed and positioned daily by an HOV along a high-relief rocky section of the bank. These optical and acoustical imaging surveillance systems were used to quantify changes in ¿sh density and behavior in response to two representative survey vehicles, a Seabed AUV and the DeepWorker HOV.
The NWFSC FRAM Marine Habitat Ecology Team is collaborating in many aspects of the UHSI program but has focused on the application of DIDSON imaging sonars to aid in quantifying avoidance/attraction biases in fishes relative to two types of mobile sampling vehicles used for direct visual surveys.

Research Themes

Research Foci


advanced Technologies
Advanced Technologies and their applications to fisheries research and surveys
advanced technology surveys
untrawlable habitat


None associated


Family Lutjanidae
Family Serranidae
sea basses: groupers and fairy basslets
Genus Sebastes


Curt Whitmire
Internal Collaborator
Emmaleigh Wilson
External Collaborator
W. Wakefield
Principal Investigator