Ship opens for tours

By Vatapuia Maiava ,

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N.O.A.A Scientist Robert Humphrey showing the students of Pesega some specimens they found.

N.O.A.A Scientist Robert Humphrey showing the students of Pesega some specimens they found.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (N.O.A.A) has kindly opened the doors of their research vessel to give touring opportunities to different schools and organizations in Samoa.

Science students from St. Mary’s College, Pesega College, the National University of Samoa (N.U.S), Samoa Maritime as well as different organizations came onboard the N.O.A.A ship for a chance to get an insight of the work they did.

Dr. Joseph M. O’Malley, a Research Fisheries Biologist from the N.O.A.A group spoke to Samoa Observer about the tours.

“So when the ship pulls into different ports we like to share what we did on the research cruise especially to the children or to local fisheries and environmental organizations,” he said.

“We generate a lot of interest when we pull into the port and people tend to want to know what our ship is doing on their shores so we send out invitations for them to come onboard so we can explain what we’re here for and what we know.”

The tour consists of 4 sections within the ship dedicated to different aspects of N.O.A.A’s work.

“So the first part of the tour is the bridge which is the command centre of the vessel and from there the Lieutenant Commander Golden shows students the instrument that we have on the bridge,” Dr. O’Malley said.

“The next station is where we show the children the footage from the cameras we attach to the fishing gear; this is where we show the fish in their natural environment and how we catch them.

“The next station is where we show them the specimens that we caught just to show what we were catching; and then the final station is what we call the local researchers stations and that is where M.N.R.E and M.A.F presents on the Fish Aggregate Device work that we have done as well as their coral bleaching and sea grass surveys.”

According to Dr. O’Malley this is all done in hopes of inspiring the young people of Samoa.

“What we like to do is to hopefully inspire the younglings with our work and to try get them into Marine Science especially at the local level,” he said.

“We feel that when we bring them along and they see what we do it will inspire them to be like us; someone inspired all of us and we want to pass that on to the next generation. “For me personally I’m very happy everyone came up and it was a nice coincidence that it is the holidays; it was good to see the kids come out, they seemed very engaged and asked a lot of great questions.”

For the U.S Embassy’s Chargé d'Affaires, Angelina Wilkinson this is a great opportunity for the people of Samoa.

“The U.S Embassy is very happy to share this project with the students of Samoa, not only from the perspective of the American Scientist but also the Samoa scientists and ministry participants,” she said. “Hopefully what the students have seen and learnt today will interest them further in a career as a Marine Scientist.”

According to Fa’ainuseiamalie Latu, a professor at the National University of Samoa who brought 2 groups of students for the tour, the students were really excited about the tour.

“I mentioned this opportunity to them last week on Tuesday and they were very keen to participate especially in terms of research because it is very rare for us to get opportunities like this,” he said.

“With this visit I’m bringing two classes; one class is a 200 level paper where we look at ecosystems with the hot topic being coral reef researches and that’s something the students are engaged in right now; I’m pretty sure they are making the most of this opportunity to help them out with their projects.

“The second class is a 300 level paper called natural resource management where these students look at the management of coral reefs, fisheries and natural resources.”

The students all took advantage of the opportunity extracting as much information from the tour guides as possible. 

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