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Ship through water, Crashing waves  







Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary management  

Interview 6:40 - 15:11 Play 6:40 - More
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Billy Causey  







Fisheries management and commercial fisherman  

NPR/NGS Radio Expeditions
30 Jun 2001

  • United States
    Monroe County
  • Dry Tortugas National Park; West of Fort Jefferson
  • 24.628   -82.873
  • Stereo
    Sampling Rate
  • 48kHz
    Bit Depth
  • 16-bit
    Equipment Note
  • Stereo=1; Decoded MS stereo; Neumann RSM 190 through Sonosax preamp into Sony TCDD8

Show: Dry Tortugas
Log of DAT #: 4
Engineer: Leo del Aguila
Date: June 30, 2001

Billy Causey (Billy)
Mark Fonseca (Mark)

0:10 Alex talking over ambi. noise of a boat and waves.

Alex: Day two of the expedition. Steaming northwest from Dry Tortugas fort off to meet the Ferrel. Early in the morning, day two ... (six or seven times). The Irene C is steaming northwest from the Dry Tortugas fort where we anchored overnight... until 2:57.

2:57 - 5:50 ambi noise of boat, waves. louder around 3:28 -4:02. Good foaming splashing sound around 4: 17 -4:35, also 4:52, 5 :06 -5 :20.

5:51 Leo: This is dat 4, and the same setup. 190i MS, and going into ?? and then a D-8. Nothing has changed

6:25 off

6:35 Alex: It's 9:30 on the morning of the 30th and we've been steaming away from the fort and we're headed for the Farrell and Billy's just seen something out on the horizon that's interested him. What is it, Billy?

6:53 Billy: well, what we see out on the horizon is a shrimp boat that has been shrimping all night and they have actually moved into shallow water, dropped their anchor, and the shrimpers tend to clean their decks and then they rest for the day. And what we're seeing is that they are outside the Tortugas Ecological Reserve, whereas previously they would be anchoring up inside the reserve. So we're starting to see that the shrimpers have started to comply, particularly in this comer of the reserve, and that's encouraging

7:27 Alex: You were saying they're tough people and maybe not that kindly disposed to sanctuary supervising and regulations and rules they have to follow.

7:37 Billy: Well, I'm very typical to make their living out on the water .. They have a rather independent life. They do provide a very important seafood commodity. Paint shrimp is the number one seafood landing in the state of Florida. And it's a very important product around the Gulf Coast, so these shrimpers come out and they tend to lead a somewhat independent life. And when they go to sea, they go to sea for a long period of time, leaving their families back on the dock, back on shore. And the last thing they want to see is some superintendent of the sanctuary showing up on their doorstep, not only waking them up in the morning from their rest but starting to throw rules and regulations on them. So we really have a lot of work to do with groups like shrimpers or any commercial fishing groups, or recreational fishing organizations. And that is getting the word out about this reserve. It's encouraging to me to see that he shrimpers are complying and they are anchoring up outside the reserve and it's not implemented for another day or two.

9:05 You really have to be honest about the mariners and people who make their living off the sea ...they're some of the hardest working individuals I've ever encountered .. .it can also be ...builds a certain amount of independence. The sea does that to people and I think that's why people spend a long time at sea have to think about that mindset and independence when you're doing something as complicated and complex as establishing an ecological reserve that is 151 square nautical miles. People that make their living on the water, I have to say, there are a lot of very hard working ... honest... commercial fisherman ... We need to respect their rights ...and need them to protect our resource ...They're not the ones who usually show up at public meetings ...they're out there to make a living right now and they're letting someone else do that work at the public meetings...and there are some very powerful lobbies that represent various commercial and recreational fishing industries ...That's who we see at the meetings most often.

11:08 Alex: And that's who you have to get to work with you. You've tried imposing regulations out here and it didn't work.

11:16 That's right. When you try the top-down approach it doesn't work and what will work, though, is working with those that make their living on the water, treating them as professionals, valuing their input, and putting them right at the same level of ranking at the table as the scientists or the conservation groups. They have every right to be there giving us the advice and we must listen to that advice

11:44 Alex: But, you know, the reason that you don't start out that way is that there's a natural suspicion or expectation on the part of conservationists and regulators that people who are out here making money off of this resource are never going to say, "Ok, I'm going to stop making money here so you can pursue your unproven ideas about conservation.

12:10 Billy: Absolutely. That captures the mindset in just a few words there and that is there's a lot of suspicion on both sides. Suspicion that the science isn't sufficient enough that we should make these leaps and regulations. Suspicion on the part of the conservation and scientific community that the fishermen will just fish it out until it's collapsed and then they'll move onto another fishery. And we are seeing major collapses of fisheries around the U.S .... it's time that we try some other management tools .. .In Nat'! Marine Sanctuaries, we don't use the concept of marine reserves or no-take areas to manage fisheries. We use it as a tool to protect the habitat, to protect the food of the commercially and recreationally important species. This is where we merge with our colleagues in various fisheries agencies...and we have to work with those different groups. The tool of marine reserves is becoming a very popular one. And it's not just popular because it's a fad, it's because it's new tool that we need to use and to try because traditional methods are not work.

13:50 Alex: But I was talking about the ...expectation of can we trust each other, how can you work with someone whose motives you distrust? The commercial fisher people distrust the scientists ...

14:13 Billy: I think that's where we've been for so long and that's why we haven't had communication and I think that's why we haven't had the successes we're starting to see in some areas. We have to be talking to each other ...trusting we're all focusing on the long-term. Take leaders have to forge a trusting relationship that would be long-lasting. And I think that has been our failure in the past in a way, is this buildup of mistrust and I think the difficult thing is getting those groups to working together and I think the first step to that is giving them all equal standing at the table.

15:30 off

15:37 ambi: gentle waves, chatting Steve: We're just approaching the Ferrel and we're getting ready to transfer four passengers over to the NOAA (?) ship. Pretty mild conditions today ...we've got two foot seas and 12 knot winds out of the ESE. We're going to be rafting up ... 61 foot Hatteras up against the Hatteras ... we're going to secure the boat and then once the boat's secured ...we'll open the gangway and passengers will get on board the Ferrel..

16:50 -17:05 ambi waves

17:05 Billy: He's got some equipment on the port side on his crane clear his portside for us to come along side ...slowly making our way ...when he's ready he'll give us a call ...and we'll start maneuvering

17:34 radio from Ferrel giving the ok

17:44 Steve: sounds like he's ready so we're going to make our way. We're about 200, 300 yards from the Ferrell and he's giving us his leeward side so we'll have our boat on the downwind side ...

18:03 - 19:50 ambi more radio sounds, Steve: talks with person on other end "I've got fuel pump on board, anything else you might need? .. " "How many SCUBA tanks do you have on board right now?" Steve: total of 10 air tanks .." "Standing by ..."

19:52 Steve: So that was our other boat, the Dante, the cell, still at the dock in Key West and just double checking with us ... seeing if we need any supplies ...they're about a seven hour ride ...out to the Tortugas.

20:22 I'm going to go ahead and close this door, Leo ...we're just turning downwind, getting ready to make our approach ...

21:25 Alex:
When you look outside like that, what are you looking at? Steve: Looking out at the fenders, the position of the fenders, the height above water that the fenders are in place. . . last minute adjustment. Fenders are the big round, air filled bumpers. . . they give us a little buffer between the two boats.

22:06 If possible, you guys can go ahead and don your work vests. . . that way we have minimal time up along aside the ship.

22:19- 22:30 from radio: . . . we need you to stand down for a moment. Our ?? is swinging around on us. B: roger, standing off.

22:30 -24:08 ambi chatter, background talking

24:08 tape off

24: 10 -24:30 ambi movement

24:32 -25:12 Alex: well, that was an exciting morning! More ambi movement, discussion of setting up equipment.

25:24 Mark: Right now we're firing up a differential GPS that has the way point or the latitude and longitude of the dive site. So we're just waiting for it to acquire satellites. And we'll give the pilot the course to recon on for two nautical miles. That's how far out we are. (ambi. beep of GPS) It's got three satellites, four satellites, ok .. .it's enough to get us going. 12:47: This is site out north 1864.

25:55 Alex: Isn't it a little rough to be going out? Mark: It's borderline for this boat. We'll take our time. Four kilometers out on this course.

26:00 -27:33 ambi -rough seas and boat, chatter over it. ~7:33-27:40 ambi -rough seas and boat, no chatter

27:42 Leo: what did you do earlier today?

27:45 Mark: ...We located a site, put down a couple of dive teams. They located the interface, installed the temporary markers. Then sent down a second dive team that did the fish counts and video surveys and sediment collection. That was...a 93-ft dive so they were down for about 30 minutes each team. After we got them back on board we did the s-turn over the site with the mini-? getting the C-4 class and a picture of the bottom. Still a little turbulence on the bottom. This isn't helping the sea conditions. We're looking at 3 to 4 to 5 feet right now with a little swell underneath it. It'll be cloudy down there.

28:38 Alex: So, Mark, you're the first team going down on the site -you're the recon team?

28:42 Mark: That's right. This site has been installed before -it was a , there were people down here in April to put down a temporary marker that mayor may not still be there. But we've got everything we need to set up a new site ... We go to the location by the... GPS and that should get us within a couple meters...we drop the anchor on that site and we go down. lf for some reason it's gone we double check. One problem that we had out here in April was a period of heavy sunspot activity and this far out we're losing our GPS signal. ... We had a lot of error, we had bad windows of GPS coverage. So we could be off tens of meters. We have a very precise measurement but whether it's accurate or not, we find out when we go down. We go down with that diver will head out...50 meters one way ...50 meters the other way...if we don't see it, it's gone....we start fresh... If the anchor is too far away...we have other buoys that we inflate on the sea floor and pop up. We'll tie that off and get a new position with the Trimble.

30:30 off

30:45 Leo: I'm rolling, just want to get the action of you guys getting about.

30:58 -40:26 Mark: Right now we're still pretty much bearing to go. 183/47 meters. 194,4 to 5-we're real close ...good shallow dive for a change (ambi. moving around boat, chatting, 33:00 -33:13 good chains, moving around; 34:03 -anchor movement;

34:03 -talking down to pulling alongside the boat, until 35:30; good/rom 35:10 -

35:30, again around 36:00, 27:30 -motor speeding up as they pull around;

38:20 to 39:00-Mark describing equipment to listen to the divers)

35:11-35:50 Mark: "15 meters ..... Do it" +radio com

40:26 -40:48 Alex: So how deep are you going to be? Mark: Probably about 61 feet...

40:40 -42:58 Mark: Jeff, we're diving air, 70 for 50, Amy's got 3200 .... (ambi -more discussion of air pressure, equipment, etc.; 41:33 -41: 52, more good wave / boat engine noises; more background chatter and movement as they get ready to dive.

42:50-: 55, air pressure noises)

41:24-42:57 Ambi -prep for dive

42:58 -43:03 Alex: Mark, how long will you be gone? Mark: Less than 50 minutes. Alex: And we can actually talk to you down there? Mark: Well, we hope so. Depends on sea conditions. If I don't answer right away, don't worry about it, I might be busy...

43:25 -45:29 more ambi noise getting ready for dive. Around 44:00 -44:10, good radio, blowing air in and out of scuba equipment 45:01 - 45:22

45:29 Mark: Alright, we're ready!

45:33 Driver: ok, lemme get over there - we're drifting fast!

45:58 Driver: Go for it, Mark!

46:00 & 46:06 ambi splashes

46:52 - 47:14 Alex: So they just gone over, two divers, Mark and Amy have just gone over the side. Amy's got this little scooter, she's taking down with her that will pull her along and save some energy and air she'd be using swimming along down there. And they're going down to look for this interface of the sea floor and the reef. (until 47:14)

47: 14 -48:05 ambi noise of driver and radio, chatter of driver of Ferrel and Irene C

48:05 tape off

48:09 -48:19 ambi gentle splashing until 4:19

48:19-48:42 Alex: I followed the divers into the water. They're about 60 feet below us. The water's clear enough so I can see them down below working on the bottom. And they're lying out this long tape that they're going to use to follow their study line across the sea floor.

49:07 : FX: Boat engine shut down

48:42 -49:50 ambi water, radio talking about whether they can hear drivers. Try to contact divers on bottom. (49:27: Mark Fonseca, do you read me?)(49:41 -loud beep)

49:50 -52:14 Driver: It sounds like they're trying to communicate. Leo: Really? They could have a loose cable or connection somewhere ... Discussion of cable, more ambi noise. 50:54 -good boat engine; 51:08 -51:16 good engine shut off, hear silence and waves and then driver trying to contact Mark again. 51:50 driver: Mark Fonseca, do you read the Monarch?

52:14 tape off

52:18-54:00 Alex in the water: I dropped over the side of the little launch boat here to follow the divers. I've just got a snorkel. It's 60 feet down but I can see them very clearly. They've stretched out this long tape. I can see Amy down below me, swimming up the line of the tape which they're using to record what they find here on the sea floor. I've dropped over the side of the launch...they'll come back next year and years after that to mark what happens in this ecological reserve and how things change over time ....The water's warm and clear and beautiful and rough.

54:06 FX: Whistle

54:00 - 56:00 ambi boat noise -getting Alex back on board, lots of laughter "God I wish this was tv ..." 55:28, Leo: Alex, you look like a plumber!

56:00 - 56:25 Ambi: Boat moving forward at a fairly good clip. Slows down 56:24. More joking about Alex losing his shorts ...

56:50 Billy: This area is very close to where the (ship) ran aground ... 57:11 It was one of three major ship groundings that led to the introduction of legislation by Congressman Dante Fassell and Senator Bob Graham to designate the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. And it was President George Bush that in November of 1990 signed that act that created the Florida Keys nat'l marine sanctuary ... until

57:47 (Leo was having some technical difficulties)

58:00 - 59:40 ambi more boat, discussion of not getting any response from com system, Mark being out of reserve, maybe getting baseline

59:40 Alex: There they are. There's a tank at the surface. Driver: here they come...ok...where's Amy? Mark Fonseca at the surface and ok. Amy at the surface and ok. Radio: copy that. Alex asking if you actually call the surface to let them know that everything's ok. Driver: yes .. .it's for a ship's log, official document...for scientists ... (until 1 :01 :20)

1:01 :30 -3:09 ambi clanking -getting people on boat. Good btw. 1:30 -2:09.

1:03:06 Mark: Well, we landed right on it. Amy: Yeah. Mark: My com system wasn't working... Leo: We heard something Amy: I'll bet mine doesn't have batteries

1:03:27 (ambi -good sigh from Amy) Amy: Yeah, we landed right on it, it was awesome. Good ol' GPS. Driver: I think it's the expert piloting ...

1:03:40 ambi sound of wringing out clothing.

1:03:50 Amy: So you heard hammering but you never heard anyone talking. I wonder if yours was on ... Leo: Were you able to hear us. Chorus: No, Amy: we weren't even able to hear each other. 1:04:00 -5:16 chatter

1:05:16 Mark: What we found down there is we'd landed about 20, 30 feet on the coral rubble break. It's a very gentle slope here of coral, ? and sponges and we moved down that and there was our temporary buoy. It was right at the sand interface so we didn't have to do anything but take our sediment samples, stretch out the tapes. There was a pin missing at the outer end our in the sands so we put in another temporary buoy there and Amy took some measurements of how compact the sediments are. We use that for calibrating the sonar. And that pretty much took the dive. (until 1 :06:00)

1:06:34 Driver: What kind of changes could I as a manager anticipate?. (question sounds distant) Mark: this site is pretty close to the closed area. So among the areas that will remain open such as this site ...we may see a more significant spillover effect in terms of larger fish, maybe heavier feeding pressure on the sea floor as the area that goes into protection builds its resources. We think that some of the areas that are farther away from the boundary that will still be subjected to fishing pressure will probably not see those kinds of spillover effects to the same degree, especially in terms of grazing of the sea floor where the herbivores may not move out as far to feed on these sand bogs. (until 7:25)

1 :07:25 chatter...among each other and in radio

1:08:18 tape stop

1:08:25 -13: sounds of preparing for another dive -or for a boat to go out with Alex (1:10:28-11:01 -good sounds "ready?" "Stand by!" boat starting, two splashes) (12:08 -beep, motor starting, "try to go back over there. ")

1:10:20 -1:11:00 Alex: "Going over .... " + ambi of jump into the water

1:14:00 Leo: We're in the boat, I'm just recording what they are talking about.

1:14:31 out

1:14:37 -FX; Static

1: 14:33 -32:14 ambi -static, crackling -as if they're recording the guys at the bottom. Only can hear through left earphone, and can only hear static. 1: 16: 1 0 ambi -can hear people talking through static, but very difficult to distinguish words. Very static-y. Can hear the exhalation of breath and something about "the species here." Then not much else. 19:40 -very faint voices, mainly static 20:23 can hear a faint, "do you read me?" 21:45, again faint voices, indistinguishable -something about a beautiful little fish ... around 24:08 through 25:00 -can hear very faint "Divers, this is the Monarch, let us know if you can hear, over." Around 25:00-can vaguely hear crackly response. this goes back and forth for a while, all very very faint. Again, all of this only coming through left side.

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