The ship leaves Wellington and heads south with 20 science staff and 19 crew on board to learn more about key environmental and biological processes in the Ross Sea. Voyage leader and fisheries scientist Dr Richard O’Driscoll says this is the third in a series of voyages focused on providing baseline information about the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area (MPA) established in 2017.
“They produce this, I think, very eye-catching and also strong message that these two types of stocks—the biomass stock and anthropogenic mass—they are actually at a crossover point more or less in 2020, plus or minus a couple of years,” says social ecologist Fridolin Krausmann of the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, who wasn’t involved in the research but was a peer reviewer for the paper.
NIWA principal fisheries scientist Dr Steve Parker and colleagues were on board the Janas , a deepwater longline vessel owned by Talley’s Group Ltd, for the second voyage ever during the winter to study the ecology of toothfish in the northern Ross Sea, especially to investigate spawning patterns of the Antarctic toothfish.
The 21 scientists, supported by 19 crew, have been focusing on gathering baseline information to monitor the year-old Ross Sea Marine Protected Area (MPA). Voyage leader and NIWA scientist Dr Richard O’Driscoll said good weather and a general lack of sea ice enabled science work to continue uninterrupted.
Voyage leader Dr Richard O’Driscoll says the main aim of the trip is to increase knowledge about key processes in the Ross Sea and to provide baseline information about the MPA so scientists can start to evaluate its effectiveness.
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NIWA marine ecologist Dr Kimberly Goetz is leading two trips to Antarctica to study the seals as a way to examine the effectiveness of the newly-created Ross Sea Marine Protected Area (MPA) in conserving top predators.