Full speed ahead for a new research vessel

27.08.18

It is an important and significant event that Inatsisartut’s Finance and Fiscal Affairs Committee has decided to follow the recommendation of Naalakkersuisut to allocate DKK 200 million for a new ocean-going research vessel.

“It is a visionary and long-term political decision that in the best possible way helps ensure the scientific basis for a sustainable development of Greenland’s most important industry – the fishery. With a new ship we are approaching a new era, as Greenland also will be capable of managing the scientific surveys of the new important pelagic resources in the future,” says Chairman of Pinngortitaleriffik’s board, Gert Mulvad.

Future-proof solution

The new ship will replace Pinngortitaleriffik’s worn-out bottom trawler, “Pâmiut,” which was taken out of operation last spring after 47 years of service in Greenland, first as a Royal Greenland Trade trawler and the last 27 years as a research vessel. The times series of data collected from “Pâmiut” is fundamental for giving biological advice on shrimp, halibut and outshore cod, and even a short discontinuation in the collection of data may have great societal implications. Therefore, no efforts were spared to find a fast and lasting solution. Throughout the spring, an analysis was made of the pros and cons of either taking over a used trawler, rebuilding a used supply-ship or building a new ship. Based on the analysis, it was the unambiguous recommendation of the Pinngortitaleriffik board that a new ship would be the best and most long-lasting solution – professionally as well as economically. Since then the recommendation has received unhesitating political backing in record time, so that the tender and commissioning of the construction can take place as soon as 2018. The new research vessel is expected to be ready by the end of 2020.

New resources, new tasks

In recent years, Pinngortitaleriffik has been given extended tasks, including survey of pelagic resources such as mackerel, herring, blue whiting, and capelin, and where “Pâmiut” was only able to fish with bottom trawl, the new ship will be able to fish along the sea floor as well as pelagic fish. Today, pelagic surveys are done using chartered ships, but with the new research vessel, the Institute itself will be able to manage the task. This will ensure not only a better running economy of the ship but also the important stability and uniformity of data collection in the future.

The decision to finance a new research vessel is coherent with another important decision, which was made 30 years ago by the then Greenland Home Rule in connection with taking over responsibility for the Greenland Fisheries Research from the Danish government. At that time, it was decided that the funding for fishery surveys outshore was to be increased, and that an ocean-going research ship was to be acquired. Since then, the surveys have constituted the scientific foundation for a sustainable exploitation of Greenland’s most important resources of shrimp and halibut. The decision has had pivotal societal importance, and today the fisheries have even become MSC-certified.

Pinngortitaleriffik also has the research vessel “Sanna” at its disposal, which is used for surveys inshore. It was built in 2012 as a replacement for the previous survey ship, “Adolf Jensen”.

“The Self-Government’s investment in these ships nicely supplements the large donations for buildings that Pinngortitaleriffik has received over the years, and it leaves Greenland solidly secured for many decades to come with a contemporary research infrastructure both on land and at sea. It is an important step in the direction towards a self-sustainable Greenland,” Gert Mulvad concludes.

 

For more information, please contact:

Director Klaus Nygaard, nygaard@natur.gl or phone 361200

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Chairman of Pinngortitaleriffik’s board, Gert Mulvad. Photo: Greenland Institute of Natural Resources