NOAA Commissions New Fisheries Survey Ship

Mike Schuler
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November 6, 2009

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Senior NOAA officials today commissioned NOAA Ship Pisces, the nation’s most advanced fisheries research vessel, and dedicated a new fisheries laboratory in Pascagoula, Miss. The vessel and the NOAA laboratory will support fisheries research in the Gulf of Mexico, southeastern United States and the Caribbean.

Pisces, built by Pascagoula based VT Halter Marine, is equipped with high tech research equipment and quiet-hull technology. The vessel is so quiet and so advanced that scientists can study fish populations and collect oceanographic data with minimal impact on fish and marine mammal behavior.

The 208-ft ship is the third of four newly constructed NOAA fisheries survey vessels of the same class. Pisces is operated by the NOAA Office of Marine and Aviation Operations and is homeported in Pascagoula.

Pisces was named by a team of students from Sacred Heart School in Southaven, Miss., and christened by Dr. Annette Nevin Shelby, professor emerita at Georgetown University and wife of U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby.

The new Southeast Fisheries Science Center’s Pascagoula laboratory replaces the laboratory that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  At approximately 55,000 square feet, the building contains office space for 104 scientists, a library, and meeting rooms. This enables NOAA to consolidate several previously dispersed programs in the Pascagoula area including the Pascagoula Laboratory; National Seafood Inspection Laboratory; and the Documentation, Approval and Supply Services office.

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