20. July

Coryphaenoides armatus, the species caught at 4200 m.

The RV G.O.Sars MOB boat collecting the author from MS Loran.

The 4.5 m Greenland shark, and Charles Cotton.

Todays Highlights

Date:July 20, 2004
Author:  Inge Fossen (Univ. Bergen, Norway)

Early this morning the longliner MS Loran retrieved the survey’s last longline on a station at 4200 m depth. The catch at this record depth consisted of a few Coryphaenoides armatus only. After waiting for the morning light and the calm seas, the two vessels RV G. O. Sars and MS Loran came close for the last time. The author was picked up by the MOB boat of the G.O.Sars and experienced some excitement when transferred safely across to the research vessel. MS Loran had now finished her mission for MAR-ECO and set the course for the Hatton Bank and later Ireland. Here is my short report from the time on MS Loran:

"The two weeks onboard the longliner passed by fast as we worked our way northwards from the Azores to the Charlie-Gibbs Fracture Zone, sampling different depth strata on either side of the mid-Atlantic Ridge. Approximately 8000 specimens of fish from at least 48 species were captured and registered. The number of species was somewhat higher than expected, considering the strong selectivity often observed by longlines. Relatively large hooks were used, and this will be most effective for the larger predatory fish species.

Species composition varied markedly between depth strata, and on some stations sharks dominated completely with Etmopterus princeps being the overall most frequent species (> 4000 individuals). Several larger sharks were also recorded, such as the false cat shark Pseudotriakis microdon and the Greenland shark Somniosus microcephalus. Among the teleosts (bony fishes) Antimora rostrata occurred most frequently followed by Coryphaenoides armatus, both most common at depths exceeding 1500 m. The largest teleost caught was a Lepidon smithi weighing well over 30 kg, but closely followed by specimens from several other species.

The scientific personnel onboard MS Loran (Jan Erik Dyb, Ann Helen Hellevik, Charles Cotton, Inge Fossen) and MAR-ECO wish to thank everyone who made the longliner effort possible, i.e. the sponsors form the private and public fisheries sector in Norway and the USA, and STATOIL (see the list of sponsors). MAR-ECO and I are especially grateful to the skipper Staale Otto Dyb and the crew who at all times made it a true pleasure to be onboard. They helped arrange sampling equipment and at all times demonstrated skill and professional handling of fish and fishing gears. And at last but not least, I am grateful to the cook for the opportunity to taste several of the "new" fish species caught, such as the Spectrunculus grandis (named "Loranfisk" during the survey), Coryphaenoides armatus (the crew’s favourite!), Antimora rostrata and others."

MAR-ECO expresses special thanks to the PI Jan Erik Dyb and the three scientists who worked tirelessly onboard Loran. Samples from the longlines and other gears will supplement very significantly the material collected by trawls on the G.O.Sars and other vessels.


Weather Conditions

A bad day, with a strong gale and poor working conditions. For the first time on the cruise, activities were limited by weather.


Tomorrows expected highlights

Tomorrow we’ll work a trawl station at 3400 m to the west of the MAR. A definite highlight of the day will be the drop of equipment for the ROV Bathysaurus by a Norwegian Royal Air Force plane.