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Consortium for Ocean Leadership Becomes 5th Cable Owning Member of OFCC

On December 20th, 2010, the Consortium for Ocean Leadership entered into an agreement with the Oregon Fishermen's Cable Committee, Inc. (OFCC) becoming the fifth cable owning member of the OFCC. The agreement covers the two undersea fiber optic cables that will be laid off the Oregon coast near Pacific City, OR. These undersea cables will be part of the Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) Regional Scale Nodes (RSN). One of those cables terminates near the Axial Seamount about 250 nm off Tillamook Head where sensors will monitor conditions near the undersea volcano. The second cable will have segments that approach the coast from the deep ocean abyss near Newport, OR. The agreement addresses such issues as cable installation and burial, inspection, participation in the OFCC Sacrificed Gear Fund, a hot line number for fishermen to call to report possible gear conflicts and the other topics found in the usual OFCC cable agreements. As with other OFCC cables, fishermen will be able to fish over the buried cable and be asked to avoid towing over any exposed cable. These cables are unique in that at four locations on one cable there are scientific "nodes" that will have sensors and instruments attached. These areas were selected in cooperation with representatives from the fishing fleet in Newport in order to minimize the loss of high value fishing grounds. The sensors and instruments will be located in no fishing "safety zones" for their protection.

The OOI RSN will extend continuous high-bandwidth (tens of Gigabits/second) and power (tens of kilowatts) to a network of instruments widely distributed across, above and below the seafloor in the northeast Pacific Ocean. As the world's first ocean observatory to span a tectonic plate, this facility will provide a constant stream of data in real time from the ocean, on the seafloor, and below the seafloor within the Juan de Fuca plate. This scientific data will be available, via the internet, to the general public. The OOI is funded by the National Science Foundation; for more information see The OOI has been developed to provide the U.S. ocean sciences research community with access to the basic infrastructure required to make sustained, long-term measurements in the oceans.

The research cable will be installed in phases, with primary cable backbone being installed in the summer of 2011, the nodes being installed in the summer of 2012 and the secondary cables, research instruments and sensors being installed in 2013 and 2014.

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