Antarctic icebreaker RSV Nuyina recorded its first catch of krill throughthe ship’s unique ‘wet well’ system.

Over 100 specimens of predatory krill species Thysanoessa macrura werecaught by Rob King, originator of the wet well concept, and aquarist AntonRocconi, as the Australian ship approached Antarctica at 59°S.

King said this was the first test of the wet well in Antarctic waters and theycaught animals as soon as they started up the water filtration system.

“It demonstrates that we can catch krill without slowing or stopping the ship,which means, weather permitting, we could potentially catch krill 24/7.”

The wet well is a watertight room inside the ship which is connected to inletsin the hull allowing water to gravity-feed into the room and across a filtertable at roughly 2000 litres per minute.

Previously, krill were caught using a trawl net with a small ‘cod end’ thatprovided some protection for krill from being damaged by the net and anyexcess catch, however King said this method was never ideal.

“The best animals to conduct experiments on physiology, reproduction orbehaviour, are those that are freshly caught and in perfect condition, so thatwe can have confidence that our results reflect what actually happens in thewild.

“We want to ensure that we have the minimal amount of time and disturbancebetween when we catch the animals and when they end up in experiments or inour on-board aquarium.”

The captured krill will contribute towards the understanding of Antarctickrill and their role in the ecosystem, which will strengthen conservationefforts and ensure Southern Ocean krill fisheries are sustainably managed.

Image: antarctica.gov.au/FACEBOOK

Tagged: Antarctica, krill, RSV Nuyina

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