NOAA joins Aquarium of the Pacific for 11th annual NOAA Day

November 2017

NOAA Fisheries and other NOAA line offices will join the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, California, on November 18th for the Aquarium’s 11th annual “NOAA Day” event, featuring information and exhibits on NOAA activities across southern California, including environmental restoration, sustainable fisheries, marine species protection, and coastal resiliency amid climate change.

"Untouchable Beauty," by Hafsa Ahmed won Honorable Mention in last year's NOAA Day art contest featuring the work of students from the Long Beach Unified School District.

Marine biologists, meteorologists, and oceanographers will be on hand to talk with visitors about NOAA’s role in sustainable seafood, weather predictions, and ocean exploration. Some 8,000 visitors came out to last year’s NOAA Day at the Aquarium and NOAA staff are excited to share our work with the public again this year.

Stacie Smith of NOAA's Restoration Center discusses the value of habitat restoration for fish with visitors to the Aquarium of the Pacific on NOAA Day last year. Photo: Jim Milbury, NOAA

Last year, booths around the Aquarium featured hands-on activities. NOAA staff described ways that the public could get involved in collecting data valuable to scientists and contribute to ocean stewardship. NOAA Fisheries used social media tools, including live streaming on our active Facebook page, to engage a virtual audience that couldn’t attend. Be on the lookout for similar online broadcasts this year.

“We emphasized important weather safety messages, like ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown,’ and explained one aspect of NOAA’s mission, which is to protect people’s lives and property and to make us a Weather Ready Nation,” said Mark Jackson, Meteorologist-In-Charge with NOAA’s National Weather Service in Los Angeles.

Some booths displayed ocean research tools, including a buoy that tracks ocean conditions and a Remotely Operated Vehicle that scientists use to explore hard-to-reach areas such as deep submarine canyons. At another booth, visitors had one minute to try to don the same kind of bulky survival suit that scientists and fishermen wear at sea. At a weather-focused booth, visitors learned how tornadoes form.

Sharing Stewardship Tips

At the NOAA Fisheries booth, marine habitat specialist Eric Chavez chatted with visitors about aquaculture, sensitive fish habitats, ocean acidification, and engaging with local fishing communities.   

“What I enjoy about this event is that we engage directly with people we may not meet otherwise and can answer their questions about ocean science and stewardship. It is also rewarding to help them feel empowered to take actions that support the work we are doing,” said Chavez.

NOAA Fisheries also featured its stewardship program Seeds for Salmonids, focused on using native plants for improving stream habitat for fish and watershed health. For example, Oregon grape holly helps stabilize soil and slow erosion. After learning about key native plants, participants took home packets of seeds to plant.

“It felt great to empower participants with tangible actions they can take to make a difference for marine animals and habitats,” said Alicia Keefe, Education and Outreach Coordinator for NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region.

Education and Outreach Specialist, Alicia Keefe, (right,) and former NOAA Fisheries communication specialist Gabrielle Dorr talk with visitors to the Aquarium of the Pacific on NOAA Day last year. Photo: Jim Milbury

Inspiring action through seafood and art

“We wanted to encourage people to make small changes at home, work, and school to improve the health of communities and watersheds, and engaged local students in our Share the Shore campaign through the NOAA Art Contest,” said Jim Milbury, Public Affairs Officer for NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region.

Seafood lovers often want to know how to choose more sustainable seafood that is harvested with minimal environmental impact. Representatives from NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region walked attendees through the agency’s FishWatch website.

“Through FishWatch, we strive to make NOAA's role in the conservation and management of U.S. and international fisheries more transparent and understandable,” said Amber Rhodes, fisheries policy analyst for NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region. “Consumers can find quick facts and read in-depth scientific reports on the harvest and farming of U.S. seafood, as well as find seafood health information and recipes.”

NOAA and Aquarium staff discussed how sustainable aquaculture can help meet the growing demand for seafood while visitors tasted sustainably-farmed Kampachi prepared by the aquarium’s in-house chef.

The NOAA Art Contest, a beloved feature of NOAA Day, picked up the theme of NOAA Fisheries’ Share the Shore campaign, which seeks to reduce conflicts between marine mammals and people on West Coast beaches. The art contest challenged local high schoolers to share their thoughts on the topic.

“What I wanted to convey in my piece was that humans should look outside of their inner bubble and realize that they shouldn’t take advantage of the environment,” said Victoria Nguyen of Polytechnic High School, who placed first for her digital artwork titled Social Bubbles.

Thank You to Last Year’s Partners and NOAA Staff

NOAA Fisheries’ West Coast Region thanks the Aquarium of the Pacific for hosting NOAA Day last year and again this year, and for making it such a successful event over the last decade. NOAA Fisheries is also grateful for its long-standing partnership with the Long Beach Unified School District, which has engaged local students in the NOAA Art Contest and ocean stewardship issues.

Home page illustration: "Help" by Cozette Trujillo won first prize in the NOAA Day art contest.