This workshop was part of the INTAROS program (Integrated Arctic Observation System) Work Package 4 “Community Based Monitoring (CBM) programmes in the Arctic: Capabilities, good practice and challenges”. The specific purpose of the workshop was to discuss ways for improving and expanding the environmental monitoring efforts by cruise ships in the Arctic taking into account the ideas of implementing Citizen Science activities during cruises. The focus of the workshop was thus to discuss possible environmental monitoring program including simple methods that can be used alongside normal cruise activities during tourist expedition cruises in the Arctic.
Scientific environmental monitoring in the Arctic is hampered by the sheer size and remoteness of the Arctic. It is difficult for researchers to cover the Arctic with environmental monitoring and ship time on research vessels is very costly. Cruise ships however, regularly travel to otherwise rarely visited places and tour guides and passengers can contribute meaningfully to environmental monitoring if the monitoring programs are carefully designed and evaluated. Cruise ships can thus gather information on a wide range of subjects (e.g. biodiversity, climate, oceanography, cultural and historical sites) to support environmental management.
It was concluded that useful data could be gathered if local decision-makers, scientists, and cruise operators together decide on what type of monitoring is possible to conduct during a cruise and what kind of data that would be needed for future planning. Careful design and proper evaluations of data and methods are important components.
You can find out more by reading the minutes and report when they are published via INTAROS and AECO soon.
This workshop report was submitted by Naja Mikkelsen, former IASC Vice-President and former IASC Council Member from Denmark.