By Morgan Bender, Jan 25th 2014
Under a full moon in the midst of the polar night, I watch as icebergs from Kongsbreen dance around the floating buoys of our last bottom trawl for live polar cod. The result was magical as much as planned and calculated.
Now three full tanks of Svalbardian polar cod are slowly steaming aboard FF Helmer Hanssen to their new home in Tromsø. Collection in Ripfjorden, Billefjorden, and Kongsfjorden aboard the polar night cruise from January 5th to Jan 20th was successful. Transport to Tromsø has thus far been a gentle journey; the sunrise/set on Bjørnøya was a welcome sign of our southern progress. However, polar cod do not seem to enjoy the boat life of five o´clock cake and beautiful views as much as I do, so it will be nice to see them settled and curve the mortality that is threatening future polar cod projects (my own Masters included).
Most of the cod are ripe and ready spawn, I have my fingers crossed that they can wait a few more days until we reach Tromsø. It is quite impressive to see how much of their body cavities are dedicated to gonads, making them look like pot-bellied baby sharks cruising around the tank. Perhaps too much time with fish has let my imagination wander…
In any case, be prepared to welcome hundreds (perhaps tens of hundreds) of polar cod to the POLARISATION team early Monday morning when the FF Helmer Hanssen steams into the kai.