Training Ship Oshoro-Maru embarked towards the Arctic

University News | June 12, 2023

Oshoro-Maru, the largest training vessel owned by the Faculty of Fisheries Sciences, departed from Hakodate Port on June 8th, 2023, and is set to return by August 3rd, 2023. The ship is sailing towards the Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea, carrying students and researchers from not only Hokkaido University, but also from other universities and research institutions.

Students, faculty and staff, and the alumni of the Faculty of Fisheries Sciences sending off Oshoro-Maru (Photo: Umi Ezawa, Hakodate Campus Administrative Office)

The current Oshoro-Maru is the fifth generation of the training vessel. Completed in 2014, the ship is equipped with an ice-resistant structure for navigation in the subarctic zone, making it a suited vessel for this 57-day expedition. This research voyage is supported by Arctic Challenge for Sustainability II (ArCS II), a project led by the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR), the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), and Hokkaido University.

In accordance with the first priority of ArCS II, the journey supports the strengthening human resource development and research skills. Ten students from multiple disciplines and different universities will participate in an open training session in the latter half of the journey through survey and practical training.

Yasuaki Takagi, Dean of the School of Fisheries Sciences (sitting at the center) with students and staff of the expedition (Photo: Umi Ezawa, Hakodate Campus Administrative Office)

From its first generation, Oshoro-Maru has contributed numerous times to improve our understanding of the environmental changes and their impact on ecosystems. Through observations, sample collection, and breeding experiments, the current expedition seeks to learn the changes in ocean thermal and material circulation, and the marine ecosystem from primary production (e.g., phytoplankton) to higher organisms (e.g., marine mammals). Additionally, to understand changes in fish community structure, DNA derived from organisms in the environment will also be observed.

This marks Oshoro-Maru’s first expedition abroad in 5 years. During both the outbound and return trip, the ship will make stops at Nome, Alaska. Information on the current state of the Arctic Ocean will be accessible from the online learning resource LASBOS. We wish Oshoro-Maru a pleasant, safe, and fruitful trip.

Oshoro-Maru departed from Hakodate Port (Photo: Umi Ezawa, Hakodate Campus Administrative Office)

Reorganized by Aprilia Agatha Gunawan

Press release (in Japanese) on the expedition’s plan and route:

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