The most advanced research vessel in the world, the Dr Fridtjof Nansen, arrived in Colombo to conduct surveys on fisheries resources and the marine ecosystem, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) said on Friday.
In a statement, it said the survey would starting in Colombo on June 24 and will cover the continental shelf and upper slope of Sri Lanka until July 16.
The last visit of a Nansen research vessel to Sri Lanka was in 1979 -1980.
The research vessel Dr Fridtjof Nansen is owned by the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad) and is jointly operated by the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and FAO.
The research vessel that will be conducting surveys in Sri Lanka is the third state-of-the-art marine research vessel that has set sail under the Nansen Programme, which has been implemented since 1975.
As the only research ship flying the UN flag, the new Nansen vessel investigates oceans, using cutting-edge technology and sophisticated equipment to help countries assemble scientific data critical to sustainable fisheries management and study how a changing climate is affecting our oceans.
A team of 20 Sri Lankans, including 17 scientists from the National Aquatic Resources Research and Development Agency (NARA), officials from the Department of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Development, and hydrographic researchers from the Sri Lanka Navy will be attending the survey in Sri Lanka.
In Sri Lanka, sampling using the full complement of technologies of the research vessel will facilitate the investigations on the hydrographic conditions (physical and chemical), plankton, egg and larvae, jellyfish, demersal, pelagic and mesopelagic resources, and bottom sediment. Opportunistic sampling for pollution (microplastics and food safety) will also be undertaken throughout the survey.
After completion of the survey in Sri Lanka, the Dr Fridtjof Nansen vessel will move northwards to complete oceanographic sampling in the international waters of the Bay of Bengal including in Bangladesh and Myanmar before concluding its expedition in mid-October in Thailand.