Hunting for sand eel

Mid-december 2020 – A team from IMR consisting of Caroline Durif, Alessandro Cresci and Elin Sørhus went out to the open ocean outside of Karmøy to fetch ripe sandeel. Together with fisherman Geir Kenneth Eriksen and his boat “Åkrabuen”, they caught 45 adult sand eel and brought them back to the IMR’s Austevoll Research Station.
Sand eel is a forage fish and an important energy source for many fish species, birds and mammals in the North Sea. These torpedo-shaped fish have a fascinating behavior and spend most of their lives dug into the sand in distinct areas of the seabed. Their peculiar life cycle and tight connection to specific areas may also make them particularly susceptible to human activities, such as oil exploration and production and large-scal offshore wind facilities.
Therefore, two research groups at IMR, Ecosystem Acoustics and Marine Toxicology, have joined together to learn more about sand eel behavior in general and how development and behavior are affected by oil exposure, oil exploration, and offshore activity. The aim is to provide knowledge to the risk assessment process surrounding the sustainable management of fishing, petroleum and offshore wind activities in the North Sea.

Alessandro and Elin sorting through the sand looking for sand eel
Alessandro, Caroline and Elin waiting for the trawl