Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 27 Issue 04

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Volume 27, No. 4
Pages 168 - 174


BREAKING WAVES • A Wave Glider Approach to Fisheries Acoustics: Transforming How We Monitor the Nation's Commercial Fisheries in the 21st Century

By Charles H. Greene , Erin L. Meyer-Gutbrod , Louise P. McGarry , Lawrence C. Hufnagle Jr., Dezhang Chu , Sam McClatchie , Asa Packer , Jae-Byung Jung , Timothy Acker , Huck Dorn, and Chris Pelkie 
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Article Abstract

Possessing the world’s largest Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), the United States enjoys the benefits of a multi-billion dollar commercial fishing industry. Along with these benefits comes the enormous task of assessing the status of the nation’s commercial fish stocks. At present, many of the most valuable commercial fish stocks are assessed using acoustic surveys conducted from manned survey vessels. The expense and limited availability of ship time often compromise the quantity and quality of the acoustic stock assessment data being collected.

Here, we describe our vision for how an unmanned mobile platform, the Liquid Robotics Wave Glider, can be used in large numbers to supplement manned survey vessels and transform fisheries acoustics into a science more consistent with the new ocean-observing paradigm. Wave Gliders harness wave energy for propulsion and solar energy to power their communications, control, navigation, and environmental-​sensing systems. This unique utilization of wave and solar energy allows Wave Gliders to collect ocean environmental data sets for extended periods of time.

Recently, we developed new technology for Wave Gliders that enable them to collect multifrequency, split-beam acoustic data sets comparable to those collected with manned survey vessels. A fleet of Wave Gliders collecting such data would dramatically improve the synoptic nature as well as the spatial and temporal coverage of acoustic stock assessment surveys. With improved stock assessments, fisheries managers would have better information to set quotas that maximize yields to fishermen and reduce the likelihood of overfishing. Improved observational capabilities also would enable fisheries scientists and oceanographers to more closely monitor the responses of different fish stocks to climate variability and change as well as ocean acidification.


Greene, C.H., E.L. Meyer-Gutbrod, L.P. McGarry, L.C. Hufnagle Jr., D. Chu, S. McClatchie, A. Packer, J.-B. Jung, T. Acker, H. Dorn, and C. Pelkie. 2014. A wave glider approach to fisheries acoustics: Transforming how we monitor the nation’s commercial fisheries in the 21st century. Oceanography 27(4):168–174, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2014.82.

Supplementary Materials

» Field Performance of a Prototype System (1.3 MB pdf)
» Video S1 (29.6 MB .mov file): In situ view of tow body deployed behind the submersible glider as seen from behind.
» Video S2 (19.8 MB .mov file): In situ view of tow body deployed behind the submersible glider as seen from behind.


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