On Tuesday, August 20th Oceana will launch its 2013 science expedition out of Newport, Oregon to explore and document diverse living seafloor habitats off the coast of central and northern Oregon. Oceana scientists and crew plan to spend seven days at sea capturing high-definition video footage of coldwater corals, sponges, and other sensitive living habitats using a remotely operated vehicle (ROV). Very few of the reefs and canyons off Oregon have been previously documented with underwater cameras due to their remote location and the region’s often rugged weather conditions. The data and footage will be used to support the conservation and management of ocean habitats including Oregon’s newly designated marine reserves and additional protected areas located in federal waters offshore Oregon.
In July 2013, in response to a request for proposals from the federal Pacific Fishery Management Council, Oceana submitted a comprehensive conservation proposal for protecting seafloor habitats while maintaining vibrant fisheries. Next week’s expedition will focus on specific areas Oceana has recently proposed to protect from bottom trawling. Oceana’s dive plan is to collect data, still images, and video footage from regions along offshore banks and canyons containing rocky reefs and soft substrates, at depths up to 400 meters (1,300 feet).
Habitat protections benefit the entire marine ecosystem and help sustain commercial and recreational fisheries. Oceana will use the information collected over the course of the expedition to describe the habitats, species, and biological communities present, thus improving and expanding upon the available science and knowledge to manage and protect the Pacific’s sensitive ocean habitats. Oceana will present information gathered from our expedition to the Pacific Fishery Management Council this fall to further justify the need for the additional habitat protections we have proposed off Oregon’s coast. The footage will also be used to educate the public about the splendor and importance of the ocean.
This expedition follows similar expeditions Oceana conducted in 2010/ 2011 off the coast of southern Oregon, Monterey Bay, California, and Puget Sound, Washington, supporting Oceana’s efforts to protect key ocean hotspots.
During the expedition video and still images will be available on Oceana Facebook and our website. High-definition video footage and images will be available for interested media upon request.
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 550,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.