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NOAA Ship Bell M. Shimada was launched at VT Halter Marine, in Pascagoula, Mississippi on September 26th, 2008, and was delivered to NOAA on February 2nd, 2010. Shimada is the final of four new Fisheries Survey Vessels built by NOAA from 2003 to 2010. Commissioning of the ship is highly anticipated to take place in the summer of 2010 at Marine Operations Center - Pacific.
The fourth vessel of its kind, Bell M. Shimada offers fisheries scientists the ability to monitor fish populations without altering their behavior, allowing them to collect data with unprecedented accuracy. With better data, biologists and oceanographers can help managers make better management decisions.
““With this dedicated vessel, we’ll make a quantum leap in our capacity to study a complex ocean ecosystem and conduct multi-species assessments.” ~ John Stein - Deputy Science Director, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA”
In the Pacific, Bell M. Shimada will help scientists gain valuable insight into the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem, a globally–significant natural resource that stretches from Baja California to British Columbia. Two scientists at the Center recently described some of the way in which this vessel will enhance existing or open opportunities for new research projects.
Bell M. Shimada was named by a team of students from Marina High School in Monterey, Calif., who won a regional NOAA contest to name the vessel. The ship's namesake served with the Bureau of Fisheries and Inter-American Tropical Tuna Commission, and was known for his contributions to the study of tropical Pacific tuna stocks, which were important to the development of West Coast commercial fisheries following World War II. Bell M. Shimada’s son, Allen, is a fisheries scientist with NOAA’s Fisheries Service.