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Marine Research News - 2008

No. 1: Farmed cod do not need to escape to spread their genes

Escaped farmed salmon that mix with wild fish have recently received a good deal of attention. But cod, our next important farmed species, can spread its genetic material without even escaping, since they spawn inside their sea-cages. The Institute of Marine Research is studying the consequences of this situation for wild cod.

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No. 2: Midwater trawl returns to the cod fishery

After thirty years of prohibition, the midwater trawl may once again become an alternative to the bottom trawl in the cod, haddock and saithe fisheries. A midwater trawl has no impact on the seabed and requires less energy to operate than a bottom trawl. The Institute of Marine Research is currently testing the new midwater trawl, which has turned out to be an effective fishing gear.

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No. 3: New research programme focusing on coastal and fjord ecosystems

The northern kelp forests in Porsangerfjorden have been significantly degraded by the large numbers of sea urchins grazing on the kelp plants. Meanwhile, in Hardangerfjorden, sugar kelp is becoming much scarcer and the sprat population has declined notably. In order to investigate what is happening to these two ecosystems, the Institute of Marine Research has initiated a new strategic programme focusing on coastal and fjord ecosystems.

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No. 4: MAREANO – mapping Norwegian seabed

Since the MAREANO programme was initiated in 2006, it has mapped 37 000 square kilometres of seabed off the Norwegian counties of Troms and Nordland. On the most recent expedition in June 2008, samples were collected and videos were taken down to depths of 2000 metres. The MAREANO project has mapped more than 330 new coral reefs, gas seeps and new deep-sea habitats, and has also developed procedures for predicting nature types.

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No. 5: The impact of seismic surveys

Sound is an important means of communication for many species of fish, in terms of feeding, survival and reproduction. The sound waves from seismic guns have low frequencies that overlap the range at which fish hear well. All evidence suggests that fish are not particularly keen on the sound energy produced by seismic surveys. Just like humans, fish move away from sources of unpleasant noise if possible.

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No. 7: Abundant krill, but no large pelagic fish populations in the Southern Ocean

There are no large pelagic fish populations in the Southern Ocean. That is one of the conclusions after the Institute of Marine Research sent the research vessel “G.O. Sars” on a six-month mission to the southern hemisphere. Krill, on the other hand, is abundant in the Southern Ocean. We are busy analysing the findings of the mission in order to calculate the quantities more accurately.

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No. 8: Arctic Ocean Climate and present situation in summer 2008

In late winter 2008 record-high temperatures were observed in the Barents Sea, but the spring and summer temperatures fell below those observed in 2007. There is slightly more ice in the Arctic Ocean than in 2007, but a large proportion of the ice is thin first-year ice, and can melt quickly.

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No. 09: Mapping marine life in Porsangerfjorden

In Porsangerfjorden, the local cod population has declined sharply, sea urchins have degraded the kelp forest and the fjord is being invaded by king crab. As the diet of the king crab includes sea urchins, it may help to restore the kelp forest. The fjord is also home to harbour seals and grey seals, whilst periodic visits by harp seals are common. The fjord is relatively untouched by human activity.

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