Polarstern / CAML expedition: weekly report - fish survey and Best Whishes

Since the beginning of last week, the course is set to the Antarctic Peninsula. But first we had to bypass a large area of sea ice north of Atka Bay by heading east. On Wednesday, ice conditions allowed for the direct course west along the 64th latitude. Due to favourite weather conditions we are making good progress. As this part of the expedition is passing by without particular events, Karl-Herman Kock from Hamburg is using the opportunity to introduce our second scientific program.

Germany is a member of the 'Convention on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources' (CCAMLR) since 1982. Its Commission is responsible for the conservation and rational use of all marine resources with the exception of cetaceans. Germany focuses its CCAMLR-related research on the state of fish and krill stocks in the Atlantic sector of the Southern Ocean. This research is conducted by the Sea fisheries Institute of the Federal Research Centre for Fisheries in Hamburg in cooperation with foreign institutions, such as the Southwest Fisheries Science Centre of the National Marine Fisheries Service in La Jolla, USA, on behalf of the Federal Ministry of Nutrition, Agriculture and Consumer's Protection (BMELV).

The bottom fish survey conducted in the course of ANT XXIII/8 is the 7th survey in a row in the southern Scotia Arc region. Polarstern will carry out 75 - 80 hauls of 30 minute duration based on a stratified random survey design. The main work on board is focused on lengths measurements, weight and sex determination, stomach analyses and the removal of tiny ear bones. The total of the scientific data will provide a comprehensive view of the state of the fish populations after the stop of commercial fishing in 1990. Results of the survey will be presented at the next annual meeting of CCAMLR in Hobart, Australia, in October 2007.

All onboard are well. The atmosphere is very good, in particular since all novices had the pleasure to enjoy the baptism after crossing the southern Polar Circle. Christmas is still far ahead in our minds, the reason being that the scientific work will start next week. As I am not going to report of the life on Polarstern over the Christmas period before the next year, I would like to use the opportunity to wish all of you that follow the happenings of this expedition a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

I would like to express my deepest respect to those at home and onboard that will spend the Christmas holidays apart from their family.
On behalf of all scientists I would like to send greetings from the central Weddell Sea.

Julian Gutt
Expedition Leader