Yearly monitoring of the shrimps and the benthos community are done in the joint autumn ecosystem survey. The joint autumn ecosystem survey will also supply a historical benthic mapping started by PINRO in the early 1930’s, continued in the 1960’s and followed up from year 2000. In addition, basic mapping of the bottom animals in the Barents Sea is done in the MAREANO project, which started its activity in summer 2006. Within the next few years the southern ice-free areas of the Barents Sea will be mapped in this project.
In addition to data on king crabs from the ecosystem survey, joint red king crab monitoring surveys has been maintained in the southern coastal Barents Sea every year. The king crab stocks and life stages are targeted at these surveys. In addition to catch data the surveys are the main data source for the assessment of the stocks.
Since 1982 annual trawl surveys were conducted to gather information on shrimp stock biomass and demographic composition for use in the assessment. From 2004 onward, the survey has been a joint Russian-Norwegian operation: “The Russian-Norwegian ecosystem survey of the Barents Sea”.
Analysing the Campelen trawl invertebrate by-catch is a time and cost effective method, which are easily implemented in the annual Russian and Norwegian Ecosystem scientific cruise. Since 2005 Russian and Norwegian benthic scientists has developed the method in order to secure standardized methods on both Russian and Norwegian ships (chapter Current and expected state of the ecosystem - Biotic components - Benthos). The method still needs further development and needs to be verified with more quantitative tools for benthic sampling in order to investigate the validity of the Campelentrawl as a benthic sampler.
In order to make a method capable to follow biomass fluctuations in the Barents Sea, long term monitoring areas was established. The areas were selected from criteria’s such as time and cost realisms, human impacts and natural variation and geographical variation. The six areas have been discussed and represent following background (Table 3.3.1).
Monitoring of benthos on the Shtokman field and in the Kola section has been done by MMBI. For the Kola section, the data stems back to 1930s. On the Shtokman field, monitoring has been done since 2002.