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May 15, 2012

Scarce sea life

BY: Enrique Talledo


© OCEANA / Carlos Suárez


This is my second day on board the Hanse Explorer, after the new photographers and camera operators have arrived. After my great experience last year, I find again an expedition crew that work perfectly and try to give their best.

We are in Finland, and the day starts with a routine task, dropping the underwater robot (ROV) into the cold, dark waters of the Baltic Sea. It will be immersed several times throughout the day while technicians, biologists and the heads of the expedition follow every detail of the scarce animal life that appears on the screens.

Daylight hours are long at this time of year and in this latitude, so more work can be done, as there is time to employ other study techniques, such as the trawl (a device that extracts a sample from the seabed and which then analyses the existing life using a magnifying life and a microscope) or the CTD, with which such water parameters as temperature, salinity, chlorophyll, or pH are studied.

In the afternoon, we dive in an area near the coast, known as the Hanko George Bank. Again, we divers find that the seabed is colonised by a large number of mussels and a few algae species. There are not many fish species here, and plaice, scorpion fish, gudgeon, and butterfish predominate.

In addition to the low biodiversity of these waters, the number of dead or dying fish is striking, particularly as we sail into more northern waters.

Tomorrow we will dive in an area where last year we photographed and film many dead fish species. Let us see what we find now…