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NOAA Ship John N. Cobb, a former fisheries research vessel based in Seattle, is on track to be named to the National Register of Historic Places, the federal government’s official list of the nation's historic places worthy of preservation. Built in 1950, it was the first vessel built specifically for fisheries research in the United States.
Following a mandated federal review in March, Cobb will join more than 80,000 places deemed significant in American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, and culture. The register lists notable places as diverse as the Brooklyn Bridge and Paul Bunyan statue in Portland, Ore. The register is maintained by the Department of the Interior’s National Park Service.
“John N. Cobb leaves behind a rich legacy of fisheries research and maritime traditions that served NOAA and the country well for nearly 60 years,” said Mary Glackin, deputy under secretary for oceans and atmosphere. “Being named to the National Register of Historic Places is an indication of the great maritime history behind the Cobb, the people who served on it, and its importance to America.”
NOAA announced the naming during NOAA Heritage Week, an annual event that highlights the people and events in the agency’s history that have shaped not only NOAA but the nation.
The vessel is eligible for the list because of her significant contribution to the nation’s understanding of fisheries in the north Pacific Ocean and identification of new sampling methods. John N. Cobb also represents an architectural masterpiece and is largely intact, retaining sufficient structural integrity to keep its historical importance. NOAA decommissioned John N. Cobb on August 13, 2008.
Unlike any other vessel of its time, the 93-foot John N. Cobb, a wooden-hulled modified purse seiner, was capable of purse seining, trawling, trolling, gillnetting and long lining. While the vessel was used for a number of important studies, one of the most noteworthy contributions to fisheries was the ground fish survey that stretched from the coast of California to the Bering Sea during the 1960s. This information continues to be used today as baseline environmental data. Recently, John N. Cobb conducted fisheries, oceanographic and marine mammal research in southeast Alaska in support of NOAA’s Fisheries Service Auke Bay Laboratory in Juneau, Alaska. Some of the longest killer whale and harbor seal time series data exist today as a result of this classic research vessel.
The vessel was operated by NOAA's Office of Marine and Aviation Operations. The John N. Cobb's home port was at the Marine Operations Center - Pacific in Seattle.
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