CUFES consists of a submersible pump,
concentrator, and sample collector.
continuously pumped at ca. 600-700 liters
per minute from 3-m depth to the concentrator. Particles the concentrated
by an oscillating net (e.g. of 500 micron Nitex mesh) in approximately
3% of the flow. The filtrate is discharged overboard. The concentrate passes
to the sample collector where particles are retained over sequential
sampling intervals (e.g. 5-30 min) on a cod end of the same size
mesh as used in the concentrator. Fish eggs are usually counted at
sea prior to preserving the sample. Simultaneously, ancillary data are
continously collected for date, time, position,
temperature, salinity, and chlorophyll a
The system operates continuously and under nearly
all sea conditions, providing a real-time estimate of the volumetric abundance of pelagic
fish eggs at pump depth. CUFES-derived estimates of volumetric abundance are
regularly compared with estimates of areal abundance made using vertically-towed nets such as the
CalVET or bongo.
CUFES has been used to sample
the eggs of menhaden, pinfish, sardine, anchovy, round herring, and mackerels off the United
States, Mexico, Peru, Chile, France, Spain, Portugal, and South Africa.