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Research and management in Antarctica

Norway has in recent years become the largest commercial fishing nation of krill in the Antarctic. Thus Norway has an increasing responsibility to secure sustainability of the harvest with respect to quotas and operations in the context of ecosystem welfare. 

The Institute of Marine Research (IMR) plays a main role in providing a sound scientific basis of the krill management, and contributes with scientific frameworks, research and monitoring, and the outcome in terms of analyses, reporting and evaluation are presented in international forums.

IMR has since 2011 carried out annual krill monitoring and research surveys in the Southern Ocean in collaboration with the krill fishing industry. The main aim of the surveys is to monitor fluctuations in abundance and demography of krill in a key region for both fisheries and land based predators. In 2008 the Institute undertook a major field effort to the Southern Ocean with ‘G.O. Sars’ and plans similar efforts at regular intervals in the future.    

The institute contributes annually in the work of CCAMLR to maintain a sustainable krill harvest, and has ongoing international research collaborations to gain new knowledge and improve the management.   

What is an ecosystem?

Ecosystems are often described in terms of energy transfer between levels of the food chain. Behind the energy transfer, however, a life or death struggle between predators and prey is taking place. This struggle, in which every individual tries to make the most of itself by spreading its genes, results in what we call the “interplay of nature”. This interplay is fascinating, both as a field of study and as a management problem.

More about ecosystem