Newsletter: A Disaster Announced

Januarsola lyser opp Landegode utenfor Bodø. (Foto: Trine Jonassen)
It is not all about crisis everywhere. This week in the Arctic has also been about dialogue and cooperation. (Photo: Trine Jonassen)
Dear High North News Reader! Corona and open borders have been an issue for almost a year now. Yet closed borders appear to come as a chock for some. This week has been characterized by a seafood industry in crisis, yet also cooperation, dialogue and new initiatives.

This week, the Norwegian government introduced new entry restrictions preventing foreign seasonal workers from entering the country and working during the winter fisheries season.

Local mayors fear disaster for parts of the fish industry. (Norwegian only).

Business riot

The fear of closed borders appears to be so strong it verges on business policy riot", High North News Editor-in-Chief Arne O. Holm writes in his Friday commentary.

Arne O. Holm
Tided of the fortunetellers in suits: Editor in Chief of High North News, Arne O. Holm
Sjefsredaktør i High North News, Arne O. Holm.

Only self-criticism is amiss when the pandemic threatens an entire industry.

Nobody knows where the principle of precaution, warranted by the seafood industry organisations last year, went.

The worst-case scenario is already playing out – in Akutan, Alaska. The largest North American seafood processing plant with 700 workers, located on one of the Aleutian Islands, is quarantined. And the nearest hospital is hundreds of miles away.

On the bright side; Alaska has the highest rate of vaccination against Covid-19 than any of the 50 staters in the USA.

More than Corona

Corona keeps ravaging; the Norwegian government has cancelled winter exercises with allies in Northern Norway.

But it is not all about crisis everywhere. This week in the Arctic has also been about dialogue and cooperation.

Great Britain’s first-ever all-party group focusing on Greenland has taken a giant leap in building relations with its neighbor in the Arctic.

Inviting Russia in

In Alaska, local indigenous people and organizations are deeply grateful for the Biden administration’s re-introducing protection of the Bering Sea.

“We deserve to have a voice in decisions affecting our lands”, says Director of the Bering Sea Elders Group Melissa Johnson.

Director of the Bering Sea Elders Group Melissa Johnson. (Photo: Private)
Director of the Bering Sea Elders Group Melissa Johnson. (Photo: Private)
Director of the Bering Sea Elders Group Melissa Johnson. (Photo: Private).

Iceland has managed to halt the mutant version of the virus at the border.

This week, we have also presented an interview with former Chief of the Norwegian Navy, Lars Saunes. He presents a new report about security in the High North:

When deterrence and military posturing are more or less the only signaling that takes place in the Arctic, that may lead to an accelerating security policy challenge in the future”, Saunes says. He argues that Russia should be invited back into the Arctic security forum.

Also U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin says he worries about Russian military buildup in the Arctic, as well as Chinese intentions. Nevertheless, he also stresses that the USA and Russia have a long history of cooperation in the region and hopes that will continue.


We at High North News thank you for being with us this past week. We would love to hear about what goes on where you live!
Trine Jonassen,
News Editor, High North News

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