NOAA and VT Halter Marine launch third fisheries survey vessel

(PASCAGOULA, MS — December 19, 2007) A new NOAA fisheries survey vessel, launched today in Mississippi, will be able to study fish quietly without altering their behavior.

Pisces is the third of four planned 208-ft. fisheries survey vessels to be built by VT Halter Marine that are replacing aging ships in the NOAA fleet. Her capabilities will far exceed those of older NOAA ships, including Pascagoula-based Oregon II.

Pisces will be homeported in Pascagoula, Miss., when placed into operation in late 2008, and will support NOAA Fisheries research and assessments in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, and along the U.S. southeastern seaboard.

The ship has been designed to meet NOAA Fisheries’ specific data collection requirements as well as the new standards for a low acoustic signature set by the International Council for Exploration of the Seas.

“The christening and launch of Pisces is a major step in the revitalization of our NOAA fleet,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher Jr. “This new ultra quiet ship continues our course for the future of fisheries and marine ecosystem research in the region.”

“Not only will [Pisces] greatly increase NOAA’s technical capabilities at sea just as her sister ships are doing, she will support research in our own Gulf region,” said Boyd E. King, CEO of VT Halter Marine.

NOAA Fisheries is the lead federal agency responsible for the stewardship of the nation’s offshore living marine resources and their habitat. NOAA Fisheries manages, conserves and protects fish, whales, dolphins, sea turtles and other living creatures in the ocean.

By Professional Mariner Staff