NOAA awarded a $73.6m American Recovery and Reinvestment Act contract to Marinette Marine Corporation located in Marinette, Wis., for the construction of a new fisheries survey vessel, which will dramatically improve NOAA’s ability to conduct surveys for fish, marine mammals and turtles off the U.S. West Coast and in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
The vessel will be the fifth in a series of state-of-the-art Oscar Dyson-class ships built for the agency.
“Our fisheries and marine ecosystems are critical to our nation’s economy,” said Jane Lubchenco, Ph.D., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “Thanks to the Recovery Act, this new vessel will greatly enhance our understanding of our ocean resources and play a vital role in supporting NOAA’s mission.”
The ship will be equipped with a full suite of modern instrumentation for fisheries and oceanographic research, including advanced navigation systems, acoustic sensors, scientific sampling gear and extensive laboratories.
The high-tech ship will also produce much less noise than other survey vessels, allowing scientists to study fish populations and collect oceanographic data with fewer effects on fish and marine mammal behavior.
The ship will be operated by NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and will primarily support NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center. This competitive procurement is the continuation of NOAA’s effort to revitalize its fleet of research vessels.