Fish Radio
July 22, 2013

AK cam sled: Octopus

AK cam sled: Octopus

Alaska Cam Sled shows sea bottom in real time

This is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini. Viewing the sea floor in High Def. Learn more after this…

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It’s been said that a picture is worth a thousand words, but for Fish and Game’s Gregg Rosenkranz and Rick Shepherd , the  millions of images from their handmade HD underwater research camera has proven to be much more than that.

“Alaska Cam Sled is a towed imaging system that is for benthic research. Basically it takes a   lot of high resolution pictures of the bottom of the ocean. I guess the short answer is… it’s to find out what’s down there.”      

AK sled cam: skate

AK sled cam: skate

 Rosenkranz is a statewide scallop Biometrician  based in Kodiak. In his many years researching weathervane scallop beds he has been able to witness many other species in their natural habitat.

 “We found out pretty quickly after we started doing this about six, seven years ago that there is a  lot of other stuff down there for example a lot of Tanner crabs live in the same areas as scallops do.”

The Cam Sled lets the biologist experience a live stream of the sea floor while on board the research vessel. Rosenkranz adds that it is more efficient and cost effective.

 “It’s easier and cheaper than a lot of other ways, because it is towed. You’re not sending divers down there for example. Divers get tired out. I like to think of it as a really stupid robot that does one job really well and that is to take high resolution photos.

The High Def camera is a non invasive way to observe and collect data in real time.

 “It looks a lot different on the bottom, then when it comes up in the net and drop it on the sorting table. Something else I like about this you can study stuff without having to bring it up, obviously that is a big part of fisheries research is getting samples. But you do throw a lot of stuff over that is not going to be doing so well after you catch and release it.”                       

AK cam sled: mating Tanner crab

AK cam sled: mating Tanner crab

Learn more about the Alaska Cam Sled this fall   when the American Association for the Advancement of Science meets in Kodiak

Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Stephanie Mangini.