- ISSN 978-92-95225-13-8, PDF HZ-06-21-078-EN-N, DOI 10.2926/714618
- 1 december 2021
- Europeiska genomförandeorganet för klimat, infrastruktur och miljö
As a result of global warming, the marine ecosystem around the North Pole, the Central Arctic Ocean (CAO), is in fast transition from a permanently to a seasonally ice-covered ocean. The sea-ice loss will enable summer access to the CAO for non-icebreaking ships, including fishery vessels, in the near future. However, the lack of knowledge on the CAO ecosystem impedes any assessment of the sustainability of potential future fisheries in the CAO. Taking a precautionary approach, nine countries and the EU established in 2021 the Agreement to Prevent Unregulated High Seas Fisheries in the Central Arctic Ocean, which a.o. includes mapping and monitoring of the CAO ecosystem before any commercial fishery is initiated. To reduce the existing lack of knowledge, the EFICA Consortium participated, together with ca. 250 on-board scientists, in sampling and data collection of ecosystem data during four legs of the international MOSAiC expedition in 2019-2020. This report describes the field work performed by the EFICA scientists using water-column acoustics, deep-sea video recording, and fish and eDNA sampling for targeting zooplankton and fish. Further ecosystem data (physical, chemical and biological) were collected by the EFICA scientists in collaboration with other scientists on-board. Together with this report, a metadata database containing lists of all collected samples and data that are relevant for future fishery assessment studies was delivered to the European Commission.