That was at the end of October 2019 in the Arctic winter darkness, far away on the ice, when Swedish researcher Pauline Snoeijs Leijonmalm was the first in the world to catch fish at the North Pole.
– Oh my God, exclaims Pauline Snoeijs Leijonmalm, professor of marine ecology at Stockholm University, in wild joy.
The scientists’ headlights flash in the mountains of fish in the Arctic winter darkness.
– This is unbelievable, she continues.
It’s a cod on one kilogram, coming from 375 meters deep, 50 miles from the North Pole.
– It’s impossible, so far north. No one has ever caught a fish here, says Pauline Snoeijs Leijonmalm.
She has been preparing for this moment for over five years.
Pauline Snoeijs Leijonmalm has been commissioned by the EU to investigate whether there are fish, and if so, which ones and how many in deep water in the Central Arctic. An area larger than the Mediterranean Sea.
Knowledge of possible fish stocks here could determine whether Arctic ecosystems need more protection from commercial fishing, now that the ice is disappearing due to climate change.
Among the record-breaking In the Mosaic expedition, which started in September 2019 and lasted a year, Pauline Snoeijs Leijonmalm and her colleagues received only four fish in total.
It was Atlantic cod and cod nibbling on it. But the researchers also captured about fifty octopuses with a deep-sea camera.
Sonar was also used during the expedition, which showed that the fish found are at depths between 300 and 400 meters, where it is also one degree warmer than closer to the surface.
Be the cod and octopus come from and how they live in the Arctic are now being analysed. The researchers are preparing a scientific publication of their findings and are now awaiting analyzes of stomach contents and water samples containing DNA from fish in the Arctic.
– May I kiss the fish, Pauline Snoeij’s Leijonmalm asks her colleagues on the ice.
– You promised, she gets the answer.
Hear more in the P1 documentary The Arctic Expedition or in Vetenskapsradion På Djupet.
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