Main areas of scientific research by the Polar Branch are at present as follows:
- studies and state monitoring of marine biological resources, including observations, collection, processing and analysis of data on the distribution, abundance, quality and reproduction of aquatic biological resources as well as on their habitat;
- assessment of impacts on aquatic biological resources;
- applied scientific research;
- assessment of stocks of marine, anadromous and freshwater fish, marine mammals, invertebrates and algae in the North European seas, in the North Atlantic and inland waters of the Russian Federation; development of advice regarding total allowable catch (TAC) of aquatic biological resources and recommended catch of aquatic biological resources that are not under TAC regulation;
- development of analytical and methodological documents to support sustainable use of aquatic biological resources;
- participation in national and international scientific fora, scientific support of Russia’s international negotiations in the sphere of fisheries and conservation of aquatic biological resources;
- development of measures to protect aquatic biological resources and their habitat;
- environmental impact assessment of industrial developments;
- sustainable use of aquatic biological resources based on studies of techno-chemical composition and biochemical parameters of aquatic species;
- development of regulatory framework to ensure safety and high quality of products from aquatic species;
- aquaculture and enhancement of aquatic biological resources.
Research areas of the Polar Branch of FSBSI “VNIRO” cover the Barents, White, Norwegian, and the Kara Seas, the North Atlantic seas, as well as freshwaters of the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions, the Komi Republic, the Republic of Karelia (rivers of the White Sea basin), and the Nenets Autonomous District.
For monitoring and resource studies the Polar Branch undertakes surveys to assess stocks of such commercial species as cod, haddock, Greenland halibut, redfish, catfish, long rough dab, saithe, capelin, polar cod, herring, blue whiting, mackerel, crab, shrimp etc. Simultaneously, other investigations are carried out to study plankton, benthos, marine mammals and birds, fish diet etc. The Polar Branch collected a large body of oceanographic data from areas of its research.
The Polar Branch has a high level of scientific expertise. More than 40 scientists have an academic degree, and the annual number of scientific publications in Russia and abroad exceeds 200. An integrated approach to addressing the research challenges contributed to development of the Polar Branch into a scientific school and training centre for highly skilled professionals.
Scientific contribution of the Polar Branch scientists is one of the important elements for the successful development of fisheries and conservation of biological resources in the whole Northern Basin. The Polar Branch has 14 research divisions in Murmansk and 3, in the Northern Department (SevPINRO) in Arkhangelsk. The staff of the Polar Branch as of the beginning of 2020 counts 400, whereof ca. 40 are scientists.
Our fleet presently includes the following research vessels: МК-0102 “VILNYUS”, МК-1902 “PROFESSOR LEVANIDOV”, МК-0520 “PROFESSOR BOYKO”, МК-0220 “PINRO-1”, МК-0501 “PROTEY” and small-size vessels RMN 16-29 “GIDROLAX”, RMN 16-28 “HEYDI”, RAR 47-24 “PEGAS”, RAA 96-70 “PRILIV”
The Polar Branch carries out on a yearly basis tens of sea expeditions onboard its own research vessels, Russian commercial fleet, as well as onboard foreign vessels. Most important of them are the joint Russian-Norwegian winter ecosystem trawl-acoustic survey to assess bottom fish, international ecosystem survey in the Nordic Seas, joint Russian-Norwegian ecosystem survey in the Barents Sea and adjacent waters of the Arctic Ocean, complex surveys of red king crab, snow crab, Icelandic scallop, and complex multispecies survey in the Barents and White Seas.
Undertaken every year are investigations in freshwaters of the Murmansk and Arkhangelsk regions, the Komi Republic, the Republic of Karelia and the Nenets Autonomous District, including by motor boats.
The Polar Branch is an international centre for fisheries research. Seeking to establish and develop international cooperation scientists of the Polar Branch recognize that the ocean is one whole and indivisible system, therefore understanding of laws governing this complex system and sustainable use of its resources can be achieved only through concerted effort by many states. PINRO takes part in cooperation within the frames of such well-known international scientific and fisheries organizations as ICES, NAFO, NASCO, NAMMCO, as well as in bilateral commissions under the intergovernmental agreements with Norway, Greenland, Faroe Islands, and Iceland.
Main results from scientific research carried out by the Polar Branch annually include forecasts of total allowable catch (TAC) and possible catch of aquatic biological resources for coming years, other prognostic documents, booklets and overviews of status of fisheries resources and conditions for fisheries, characteristic of current and expected state of environment, scientific reports, materials to support Russia’s position in international negotiations, publications in Russian and foreign scientific journals.