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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, August 19, 2003

Marianas reefs to be studied

Associated Press

SAIPAN, Northern Mariana Islands — A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration research vessel arrived here yesterday to begin a 31-day survey of marine life around the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.

The survey is to document the conditions of the islands' coral reef ecosystems, including the fish, corals, algae and invertebrates, said Russell E. Brainard, an oceanographer and chief of the agency's coral reef ecosystem division.

The 224-feet long Oscar Elton Sette can reach remote areas, and has high-technology research equipment, Brainard said.

"We are working together to have the best scientific information for us to share so all of us can make the wisest decisions on how the resources are utilized," he said. "Our ultimate goal is to provide the science that will allow long-term conservation and sustainable use of the resources."

After completing work in the Marianas, the Oscar Elton Sette is scheduled to stop in Guam before heading back to Hawai'i. The vessel supports scientific missions of NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service Honolulu Laboratory.