Polarstern Starts New Polar Expedition in Arctic

Polarstern icebreaker has embarked on a year-round MOSAiC (Multidisciplinary drifting Observatory for the Study of Arctic Climate) expedition to study climate change in the Arctic.

On board Polarstern is a team of scientists, supported by the EU, who will conduct pioneering research on the marine ecosystems of the central Arctic ocean.

The results of their expedition will improve the understanding of these ecosystems and help determine whether fish stocks might exist in this area that could be harvested on a sustainable basis.

The MOSAiC expedition is the largest polar expedition to date. The backbone of the expedition is the German research vessel Polarstern, which will spend a year drifting through the central Arctic ocean while attached to an ice floe. Hundreds of researchers from 19 countries will visit the Polarstern during this year to conduct research and gather data to gain a better understanding of global climate change, European Commission said.

Among them are scientists from the EU-funded consortium European Fisheries Inventory in the Central Arctic ocean (EFICA). This international consortium will map marine ecosystems in the area.

The work of the scientists will support the implementation of an international agreement to prevent unregulated high seas fisheries in the central Arctic ocean. This agreement takes a precautionary approach to potential medium or long-term fishing opportunities in the area. No fisheries can take place, until scientific evidence exists that it can be done sustainably.

The EU is one of the first parties to the agreement to set up such a research expedition.

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