Marine Sanctuary Research Vessel welcomes visitors at Pillar Point boat-lighting
Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary will welcome visitors aboard the new research vessel "Fulmar" at the San Mateo County Harbor District’s 19th Annual Pillar Point Harbor Boat Decorating Contest, on Saturday, December 16 from 6 to 8pm.
The R/V Fulmar, jointly owned by Gulf of the Farallones, Monterey Bay and Cordell Bank national marine sanctuaries, will be decked out in holiday décor and available for tours. Sanctuary staff will welcome the public and describe the research, education and other activities conducted by the Central and Northern California marine sanctuaries.
Research vessels enable scientists to "take the pulse" of the ocean. This region is a complex region of high biological diversity with wildlife breeding and foraging areas, commercial and recreational fisheries encompassing numerous federally, state and locally protected marine and estuarine waters. Last July the sanctuaries conducted a research expedition to document the significant absence of zooplankton (krill) for the second year in a row, which resulted in reproductive failure in seabirds, forced blue whales to forage elsewhere, and affected the entire food web. These cruises enable scientists and resource managers to better understand and protect ocean wildlife and habitats.
The R/V Fulmar, named after a gull-like seabird with a distinctive mosaic patterned bill, is a stable, 66’ High Speed Teknicraft Catamaran research vessel. This twin-hulled vessel can carry up to 28-passengers and also serve as a host for educational field trips and emergency response. When fully equipped, the Fulmar will feature Remotely Operate Vehicles (ROVs). Wet and dry labs permit on-board processing of samples and data. Berthing, stowage, galley and safety equipment allow for multiple-day cruises with crews of up to ten scientists.
Gulf of the Farallones National Marine Sanctuary, a division of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), protects 1,255 square miles of open ocean, bay and wetlands. It also manages the San Mateo County portion of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The non-profit Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association supports the work of the Sanctuary in protecting its natural and cultural resources. For information on programs and volunteer opportunities call 415/ 561-6625 or visit www.farallones.org or www.farallones.noaa.gov.