Commercial fishing vessel as research vessels in the Antarctic – requirements and solutions exemplified with a new vessel
The climate-induced changes presently seen in the ecosystems of the Antarctic region require a precautionary approach with respect to the human use of these ecosystems. In particular, resource harvesting requires enough basic knowledge, as well as adequate monitoring, to avoid unintended impacts on the harvested stocks and the associated ecosystem. Due to the vastness and remoteness of the Antarctic region, research vessel capacity is not readily available for conventional coverage of harvested stocks and their ecosystems. This paper describes the potential of using commercial fishing vessels to bridge the gap in research vessel capacity. The various tasks and required instrumentation are presented and discussed. To illustrate this concept a description of a Norwegian krill fishing vessel now under construction is presented. This type of combined fishing and research vessel could make a large amount of important data available for both management, through CCAMLR, and the broader scientific community and thus improve the basis for resource evaluation and management.