TRANSSIZ expedition: Fishing underneath the rough ice of the Arctic Ocean
The researchers on board RV Polarstern are three weeks on their way. They had a number of successful catches with the SUIT (photo 1) and the RMT (photo 2) in the shallow waters north of Svalbard. A lot of small zooplankton in the catch requires a lot of time for sorting (photo 3). Further north, over deeper water, the first Polar cod was caught (photo 4). This is a fish species that is abundant in the Arctic Ocean and which forms an important part of the food chain in this area.
The rough ice can be violent to the frame of the SUIT. The iron frame is strong, but not always as strong as the sea ice. That is why it is not uncommon that the frame is damaged during fishing (photo 5). Luckily, Michiel van Dorssen is there to repair the frame if necessary. As a metal worker, he is not impressed by a little bit of bended iron (photo 6 and 7). With a little bit of cutting, bending and welding, the SUIT looks as good as new.
The ice in the north and in the east is very dense and hard to get through with the ship. The wind has pressed the ice together. When two ice floes are pushed against each other, they are pressed together or slide on top of each other. This causes a ridge to be formed on the top of the ice as well as on the bottom, that can be a few meters thick. Therefore looking at the ice from the top gives an idea of with it looks like underneath (photo 8 and 9). Because of the heavy ice, it is sometimes necessary to adjust the planned route. Currently Polarstern is heading west, and from there will continue its journey north.