John Sibunka

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Voices from the Science Centers


Voices from the Science Centers is an oral history initiative dedicated to documenting the institutional knowledge of fisheries scientists and administrators in the labs of NOAA’s Fisheries Science Centers.

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Date of Interview
Biographical Sketch

John Sibunka was a long time employee at the Sandy Hook Lab. His career spanned from 1966 when he joined the ichthyoplankton department to 2006 when he retired. He graduated from South Maine Vocational Technical Institute and Rutgers University where he received his bachelor's degree. During his career, John served on the R/V Delaware II, R/V Albatross IV,R/V NAUVOO and the R/V Henry Bigelow. Over his 40 year career, he spent an average of 100 days at sea per year.

Interview contains discussions of: his first cruise while at South Maine Vocational Technical Institute, destruction of the R/V Delaware II while being built, ichthyoplankton department, age and growth, groundfish surveys, details of change from Bureau of Commercial Fisheries to National Marine Fisheries Service, changes in technology for plankton surveys, foreign fleet fishing vessels as research platforms, life on Soviet vessels, MARMAP, GLOBEC program, fire at Sandy Hook Laboratory, research ship committee for newest class of vessels, innovative design of R/V Henry Bigelow and how that was achieved by personnel at Northeast Fisheries Science Center, collection of samples for other institutions, R/V NAUVOO and NOAA Corps.

In this interview, John Sibunka provides a rich description of his NOAA career and the changes he experienced. He provides a detailed explanation of the scientific operations of research vessels and the operation of the vessels, the various research programs, the impact of the fire at Sandy Hook Laboratory, and his work over this career.

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