NOAA Ship Oregon II was built by Ingalls Shipyard in Pascagoula, Mississippi. The ship was commissioned on March 12, 1975 and is currently homeported in Pascagoula, Mississippi.Oregon II primarily conducts a variety of fisheries, plankton and marine mammal surveys in the Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea.
The ship's mission includes supporting the National Marine Fisheries Service's annual bottom longline red snapper and shark survey. While conducting surveys, researchers catch, measure, tag and release the fish to acquire the data used in stock assessment for many of the coastal species of sharks,commercial snappers, and grouper species. Using gear modeled after commercial shark fisheries, the survey has been running continuously since 1995.
During survey missions, observers stationed on the ship's flying bridge watch for marine mammals or floating debris using high-powered big eye binoculars. When dolphin pods are encountered, the ship breaks from planned operations and investigates each sighting.
Designed after the North Atlantic distant-water trawlers, Oregon II is adapted for extended cruising range, versatility of operations, habitability and seaworthiness.
The ship uses trawls and benthic longlines to collect fish and crustacean specimens. The ship's longline gear consists of one nautical mile of mainline with 100 hooks, which soak for a total of 1 hour. The ship uses plankton nets and surface and midwater larval nets to collect plankton.
Oregon II was originally built for the Bureau of Commercial Fisheries, Department of the Interior as a replacement for the fishery research vessel NOAA Ship Oregon --a converted 100-foot tuna clipper that carried out most of the federal fishery research work in the Gulf and southwest Atlantic beginning in 1952.