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The Norwegian Sea Ecosystem Programme

The overarching objective of this programme is to generate knowledge that will provide a basis for developing advice for the authorities in all areas that concern marine resources and the environment in the Norwegian Sea.

Tasks and sub-goals:

  • Resources monitoring and management advice regarding fish stocks.
  • Deepwater resources.
  • Environmental monitoring and management advice, including. environmental toxins and radioactivity.
  • Contribute to development of ecosystem-based management, including resources for aquaculture feedstuffs.
  • Seabed and benthic habitat surveys.
  • Dissemination and implementation of research results.

Main activities in 2009

 Resources surveys:

This is the largest part of the programme, and it can be divided into two groups: deepwater resources and pelagic species.

Deepwater resources encompass Greenland halibut, redfish, tusk and ling. The project will quality-assure the data used in stock analyses of north-east arctic Greenland halibut. There will be a focus on three areas:

1. Quantification of pelagic distribution.
2. Validation of new age estimation methodology.
3. Catchability in bottom trawls.

Development of methodologies:

The focus here is on the development of new equipment or models related to resources connected with the Norwegian Sea Programme. Examples of projects include Grids in herring and blue whiting trawls, which has the aim of reducing bycatch, and MUST – multi-use system for towed vehicles, which will develop a system based on integrated technology for surveying and biomass measurement of fish and zooplankton. The plan is that this will also be used on board RV G.O. Sars when it leaves for the Antarctic.

Environmental monitoring:

So far, this forms only a small part of the programme, but it consists of monitoring the ocean climate and plankton. Much of the research being done in this area takes place in other programmes, such as Climate and Fish.

The Norwegian Sea Management Plan:

The Norwegian Sea Management Plan will be drawn up along the same lines as that for the Barents Sea. The Institute is involved in most parts of the reports that are due to be ready during the first half of 2008. The large number of deadlines during the start-up phase may have negative effects on scientific quality, and the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs has been informed of this. The resources set aside for this project are based on experience gained in the course of the Barents Sea Management Plan.