Research vessel Hanse Explorer. (Photo: Histarmar)
Expedition in search of Baltic areas that need protection
Thursday, April 26, 2012, 02:00 (GMT + 9)
The marine conservation organization Oceana launched a new 'Baltic Expedition' on board the research vessel Hanse Explorer in order to identify marine ecosystems that require protection and document illegal or unsustainable fishing.
During the two months the survey will take, scientists from the NGO will travel roughly 7,000 miles in the waters shared by the nine countries bordering the Baltic Sea: Denmark, Germany, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Russia, Finland and Sweden.
It is the second running year this scientific expedition takes place.
| Oceana divers under the ice. (Photo: Carlos Minguell)
The investigators will visit about 12 places with high ecological value identified in the 2011 survey and will perform further research on those sites in order to provide additional data to coastal governments.
Oceana also aims to collect enough information so as to get the declaration of new protected marine areas and strengthen the management of the existing ones.
Furthermore, the NGO will document illegal, destructive or unsustainable fishing that is still frequent in the Baltic Sea, one of the seas that has been most widely harmed by pollution and overfishing on Earth, reported Oceana.
"The Baltic Sea requires drastic measures in fisheries control and ecosystem protection to urgently start a successful recovery process," said Xavier Pastor, Expedition Leader and CEO of Oceana in Europe.
|A crew member turning the winch handle of the Hanse Explorer. (Photo: Oceana/Carlos Suarez) / The Hanse explorer and the ROV near Pori, Finland. (Photo: Oceana/ Carlos Minguell)
"Cooperation between society, governments, NGOs and the industry is vital to succeed in this task. Oceana is doing its best," he said.
Hanna Paulomäki, Oceana coordinator for the Baltic Sea, said the group's goal is that in 30 per cent of the Baltic Sea there are Protected Marine Areas, which will closely be watched in a medium term to accelerate its ecosystem and fish stock recovery. "By the middle of this decade a 20 per cent should have been covered," he stressed.
The vessel Hanse Explorer has 12 crew members as well as researchers from about 10 countries.
The boat has an underwater robot (ROV) that enables it to reach greater depths in the pits present in this sea (at 500 metres), Van Veen dredges, temperature, salinity and chlorophyll meters and plankton nets.
- Oceana calls fisheries management in Baltic Sea 'disappointing'
By Analia Murias