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Aker BioMarine's collaborative venture with the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research

Blog overview
This month, Aker BioMarine proudly handed over control of the Antarctic Provider to scientists from the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) for 12 days of critical work on krill biomass and ecosystem monitoring in Antarctica.

Since 2011, IMR has diligently conducted annual surveys, primarily aimed at calculating Antarctic krill biomass and mapping their distribution, but also researching other ecosystem components of the Southern Ocean. Because building data time series in Antarctica is key to understanding how the physical and biological components interact and how the krill fishery can find its place in the ecosystem.

Endurance crew

In 2023 a big milestone was reached as the results from the krill biomass monitoring from the first 10 years of collaboration with the IMR were published in a scientific article. This study on krill distribution and density from South Orkney, affirms that the annual krill catches consistently remain well below the upper precautionary level.

Part of the scope of the annual surveys is also systematic sighting data of whales, penguins and seals. Knowledge about krill predator’s population dynamics and krill consumption are essential for the future management development to determine sustainable harvesting levels and the spatiotemporal distribution of the fishery.

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Also, during the IMR survey, experiments using additional survey methods have been tested out such as a employing a photo-drone for monitoring of whale`s body size and to calculate their energetic needs. Satelite tagging of whales will also bring new knowledge about their behavior and distribution. Additionally, scientists have been deployed at penguin colonies to satellite-tag penguins to study foraging behavior. Aker BioMarine’s sailbuoy, equipped with an echosounder, has also been used to explore the feeding area for these penguins, contributing valuable insights to the Antarctic science community.

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For more details about the IMR krill survey, Explore the full cruise report on the Antarctic krill and ecosystem monitoring survey off the South Orkney Islands in 2023 at the Institute of Marine Research's website.