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Marine Science



Icelandic trawler helps out in Greenland research on shrimp and halibut. A fresher trawler has been leased from HB Grandi by the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources to assess stocks of shrimp and Greenland halibut off west Greenland.

The vessel Helga María is now in Ilulissat on the west coast of Greenland. The town lies on Disko Bay at around 69°N.

‘It’s been an interesting assignment, but also demanding,’ said skipper Heimir Guðbjörnsson. He commented that Helga María sailed from Reykjavík on 15th of June.

‘We steamed to Nuuk to collect the shrimp trawl and other equipment. That’s where five fisheries and biology scientists from the Institute of Natural Resources joined us, in addition to the eleven of us on board from Iceland,’ he said.

The routine is for the shrimp trawl to be towed for fifteen minutes at a time, while the salinity and sea temperature are also recorded.

‘It has been a problem up here in the north that there icebergs everywhere. The biggest ones show up on the radar, but you have to watch out for the smaller lumps of ice. Occasionally there’s thick fog over this area, especially here in Disko Bay, and you have to be wide awake all the time. In the fjord here there’s a glacier that reaches a long way out into the sea. There are mountains of ice breaking off it all the time and the fjord is packed with ice that then drifts out into Disko Bay. It’s like trying to trawl in Jöluksárlón, but over a million times larger area.’

Heimir Guðbjörnsson said that next they will be heading north of 70°N with the shrimp gear. After that the plan is to take the Greenland halibut grounds further offshore and there is a possibility of finishing up with some research work in Canadian waters. There is also a likelihood that the scientific team will be increased to nine. Helga María is due to return to Reykjavík on 29th August.