WWF partners with scientific whale project from Norway

posted on June 03, 2019

3 June 2019 – WWF Norway partners with the scientific whale project “Arctic Whale” to share knowledge on plastic pollution in the arctic with the public.

With the Barba sailboat as platform for research institutions, photographers and storytellers, Arctic Whale will conduct an Arctic roundtrip from May to July 2019. Whales and other sea mammals will play the lead roles as messengers from the ocean. Research projects about marine plastic pollution and how this affects the ocean and marine mammals are an important part of the project. The Arctic Whale project aims to investigate if the marine plastic problem has become part of the biological lifecycle of marine mammals that live in remote and pristine Arctic regions.

As part of the cooperation, WWF will contribute with their expertise on plastic pollution and the arctic area. In return the Arctic Whale project will share its visual, marine and research data with WWF. World leading documentary specialists and wildlife photographers are part of the arctic whale team, including WWF Panda ambassador Conor McDonell whose previous work includes being Kim Kardashian & Kanye West wedding photographer.

– The most important thing we do in terms of our plastic pollution problem, is stopping new plastic from going into the oceans. To succeed, we need stricter regulations nationally and internationally. That is why we need to show people how severe the plastic problems have become. We still do not know enough about how plastic pollution affects life in the High North, and we are excited to see how this project can bring knew knowledge to the table, says Fredrik Myhre, WWF.

The Arctic Whale team will utilise groundbreaking research methods that are easy to visualise and document. Amongst other things, the team will utilise drones to capture whale breath samples (from the air they expel through their blowholes) and analyse these for various environmental parameters, and take tissue samples from blue whales to check if they contain nanoplastics.

The Arctic Whale team will also utilise more traditional research methods such as micro plastic trawling and mapping of macro pollutants, plus conduct hydrophone recordings to better understand the biology of the species.

The research will be conducted in cooperation with the University of Iceland and the University of Oslo.

“We believe in the power of sharing to solve the problem that is about to strangle our ocean and we aim to discover how big the problem is in the arctic by using the sea mammals as storytellers on the way. Through our collaboration with WWF we will have access to excellent competence on plastic pollution and have access to a trustworthy global network that can contribute to bring the problem to the people. This is extremely valuable to us, both in terms of communicating our findings but also spread knowledge on the enormous plastic pollution problem our oceans are facing as a result of human impact, says Sandra Ness, Impact Manager and co-founder of Arctic Whale.

Andreas B.Heide (39) from Stavanger & Sandra C.Ness (31) are the co-founders of the Arctic Whale project.

Amongst Arctic Whale’s partners we can find WWF, DNV GL Veracity, Kongsberg Satelite Services, Empower and the investment company Chrisanic.

About Arctic Whale

With the Barba sailboat as platform for research institutions, photographers and storytellers, Arctic Whale will conduct an Arctic roundtrip from May to July 2019. Whales and other sea mammals will play the lead roles as messengers from the ocean. Research projects about marine plastic pollution and how this affects the ocean and marine mammals are an important part of the project.

About WWF

WWF is one of the largest environmental organisations in the world. We strive for a future where humans live in harmony with nature, and where no more animals or species will go extinct due to human activities.

ENDS

For further media information, please contact:

Sandra Ness, Arctic Whale, tel: +47 918 25 005 or email: [email protected]

Fredrik Myhre, WWF World Wildlife Fund, tel: +47 414 51 739 or email [email protected]