26th November 2009

Steaming South.

Its about 1,300 mile from Timaru to the Northern Ross Sea ice edge, it’ll take us around 6 days to get there if the weather is reasonable. (Unreasonable weather is more than likely).

Information we have indicates the ice is thawing faster this season than it did in 2008 and 2007, however, our records show much less sea ice during 2000 to 2005 than we’ve seen for the last 4 seasons. With global warming the hot topic of the day, we do not see it happening in the Ross Sea in recent years. 

The first job we must do before exiting NZ waters is check the sink rate of our lines to be sure they comply with guidelines set by CCAMLR. These guidelines have proven to be effective in the Ross Sea resulting in a zero seabird by-catch for all vessels involved in the fishery since it began 11 years ago. (Every vessel has at least one international observer aboard, the four NZ vessels carry two observers each, this is to help with the additional research we undertake). The line sink test is carefully monitored by both observers with the results sent to the Ministry of Fisheries (our lines must sink at no less than 0.3m per second) after that we receive a “warrant of fitness” allowing us to proceed to the fishing grounds.

Some of the crew making up fishing gear in the TV lounge. From left: Matthys (The CCAMLR observer lending a hand), Hamish (The Cook), Blain, Patrick, Adam and Sandy.

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