This past weekend, Marinette Marine Corporation (MMC), a Fincantieri company, launched the Reuben Lasker, a fisheries survey vessel that the Wisconsin shipyard is building for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Pamela A. Lasker, the daughter of the ship’s namesake and its sponsor, christened the ship before the 208-ft. vessel was side-launched into the Menominee River.
“When completed, the Reuben Lasker will strengthen NOAA’s ability to collect and deliver vital information about our fish stocks and the health of our oceans,” said Eric Schwaab, assistant administrator for NOAA Fisheries, who attended today’s launch. “In addition to providing critical jobs here in Marinette during construction, scientific information from this ship will support future fishing jobs in our coastal communities for decades to come.”
Funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Reuben Lasker is the fifth in a series ofOscar Dyson-class ships built for the agency. The ship will be equipped with the latest technology for fisheries and oceanographic research, including advanced navigation systems, acoustic sensors, and scientific sampling gear. The Reuben Lasker will primarily support fish, marine mammals and turtle surveys off the U.S. West Coast and in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean.
The high-tech ship is also engineered to 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 new vessel is named after the late Dr. Reuben Lasker, a pioneering fisheries biologist who served as the director of the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center’s coastal fisheries division and as adjunct professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego. Dr. Lasker directed a renowned research group that focused on the survival and transition of young fish to adulthood, a topic with implications for fisheries management throughout the world.
The Reuben Lasker will be operated, managed and maintained by NOAA’s Office of Marine and Aviation Operations, which includes commissioned officers of the NOAA Corps, one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and civilian wage mariners. The ship will primarily support NOAA’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center. The construction of the vessel is a vital part of NOAA’s effort to revitalize and operate its fleet of research vessels for fisheries management, climate studies and hydrographic surveys.