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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, described as “a federal agency focused on the conditions of the oceans and the atmosphere,” has signed a 10 year lease with a five year extension option beginning next September to home port the ocean research ship Reuben Lasker at Crosby Street Pier, the Port of San Diego announced yesterday.

The fifth and largest fisheries research vessel in the Association’s fleet, Reuben Lasker “will provide the basis for the at-sea scientific research conducted by more than 270 scientists at NOAA's Southwest Fisheries Science Center” based in La Jolla, the Port says. Included in this figure are partnerships with the Association's Southwest Fisheries Science Center, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, the World Wildlife Fund, Hubbs SeaWorld Research Institute, the Sportfishing Association of California, and the National Marine Mammal Foundation.

An estimated 24 jobs and $27 million in annual direct and indirect economic contributions are forecast for San Diego as a result of the arrangement. $2.3 million of that is in the form of rent to be collected by the Port if the least is extended through its full 15 year term.

Educational outreach opportunities including open houses and public tours aboard the ship are being considered for the time it spends in port.

The vessel is named for the late Dr. Reuben Lasker, an adjunct professor at UCSD’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography and director of the Association’s Southwest Fisheries Science Center's Coastal Fisheries Division.

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