Oceana Completed The Norwegian leg of mapping the North Sea
The Oceana International Expedition set out to map the North Sea’s marine life has completed the Norwegian leg of their journey. Here follows a brief follow up on their findings
The area surrounding the Island of Karmøy in Rogaland has received little attention in terms of scientific surveys and it is indeed the first time Oceana in Europe has visited this site.
Not only is this area a place for sponges and sea pens, but fish, crabs and lobsters too. Chimaera monstrosa (rat fish) was commonly found as we saw this distinctive fish swimming close to the seafloor numerous times. We also saw pollack, cod, flatfish and even rays.
There are pockets of Marine Protected Areas (MPA) surrounding 2 islands around Karmøy.
However, the rest of the survey area remains unprotected and vulnerable to human activities, such as trawling, which occurs frequently.
There are no offshore MPA’s in the area, but the Norwegian trench is listed as an “especially valuable area.” The fjord Framvaren, just outside the eastern part of the survey area is an Norwegian MPA.
In this survey area we reached depths in excess of 400 m, the deepest during the whole expedition. Here we found the bamboo coral, sea pens, sea cucumbers and plenty of flatfish. Once again, several Chimera were recorded and also Norway red fish and hagfish.
Bamboo coral Isidella lofotensis were found during our deep sea dives in the Skagerrak and this species is thought to be endemic to Norwegian waters. Cold water corals like this and also sea pens are vulnerable to the effects of trawling which occurs intensively in Norwegian waters.
Both areas require protective measures to prevent further damage from the destructive trawling industry. This is needed to prevent irreversible damage, particularly in areas where vulnerable species such as coral and sea pens are present. Such grounds with an abundance of coral and pens can serve as a nursery ground for fish and indeed juvenile flatfish, cod and Norway pout were all found in both areas.
In both parts of the Norwegian coastal areas, we were working down to depths of 400 meters,
With the use of our Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) we executed 27 ROV dives (8 at Karmøy, in 19 Skagerrak) and made a total of 15 grab samples (5 at Karmøy, 10 in Skagerrak).