August 24, 2013
We faced some new challenges today and took some new risks. We made our deepest dive yet with the ROV to 1,170 feet. We also did our first night dive.
After sunset we dove the ROV to 600 feet at Daisy Bank. The area is currently protected from bottom trawling as an “essential fish habitat conservation area” as a result of Oceana’s 2005 proposal to the Pacific Fishery Management Council. We are now proposing expanding the area to include additional sensitive habitat features adjacent to the current site.
What we saw on the night dive was absolutely incredible. We’ve never seen such a close relationship between rockfish and sponge. Hundreds of individual rockfish were nestled down in the folds of giant glass sponges or tucked away inside barrel sponges as if snuggled in a sleeping bag for the night. To see and document such a clear and direct association between hundreds of fish and sponges is staggering. In some cases there were four or five rockfish all taking refuge under and in one sponge. We saw many darkblotched rockfish, giant yelloweye rockfish, large skates, crabs, hundreds of shrimps, and huge lingcod.
Daisy Bank is truly a national treasure comparable to our greatest and most wild parks on land. We feel so fortunate to be able to document this biologically diverse and unique part of our planet and we hope it will always be protected as one of our great national ocean treasures.