Among a variety of responsibilities, the Institute of Marine Research also monitors the long-term development and conditions in the aquatic environment related to pollution of the Norwegian coastal and ocean areas. This is relevant to the monitoring of foreign substances in fish and shellfish. The Institute of Marine Research’s environment monitoring complements NIFES’ monitoring of fish and seafood.
The monitoring of chemical pollution in Norwegian ocean areas for continuous documentation is essential knowledge on how the pollution affects the living conditions and quality of our living marine resources. Research is carried out on organic environmental toxins, discharges and emissions from the petroleum industry and radioactive contamination, plus short-term and long-term effects on marine organisms.
The field of marine environmental quality includes development of analytical methods for monitoring the marine environment in the incident of organic environmental toxins. To acquire new knowledge of the side-effects of the offshore oil and gas industry on the marine environment is one of the main objects togehter with providing fundamental knowledge of the ecology, toxin production and effects on fish and shellfish from poisonous algae.
Traditional marine monitoring programmes have generally focused on individual elements of the ecosystem, such as a single fish species or a single environmental factor. IMR now takes a holistic approach to marine ecology, using modern research vessels and facilities to monitor and study the whole marine ecosystem. Measuring all components of the ecosystem simultaneously offers new and improved prospects of understanding ecological relationships.
The Institute monitors and studies the ecosystems of the Barents Sea, the Norwegian Sea, and the North Sea, as well as ecosystems in the coastal zone.
The aquaculture programme at IMR is one of the largest and most comprehensive of its kind in Europe. The Institute has been a central force in the development of salmon farming technology and the major contributor to the scientific basis for cod, halibut and scallop culture in Norway.
IMR has the responsibility of providing the scientific basis for a sustainable exploitation of Norway’s substantial aquaculture potential. Significant resources within the programme are allocated to the study and monitoring of potential environmental impacts from aquaculture.