Russian fishers in the High North are worried and warn strongly against oil explorations in the Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja (LoVeSe) regions in northern Norway. Now they ask Russian authorities to proceed with the matter in order to secure a Norwegian-Russian coordination of oil and fishery activities.
The Russian organisation Fishing Industry Union of the North expresses the concerns on behalf of its members.:
- The question of an impact assessment and potential oil and gas activities in Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja worries the Fishing Industry Union of the North. We are very critical of oil and gas activities in these ocean areas, the organisation’s Director General Nikolai Demianenko writes in a letter to Kjell Ingebrigtsen, Chairman of the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association.
Fishing Industry Union of the North is a Murmansk-based cooperation organization of the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association.
Asks the PM to listen to the objections
The Norwegian Fishermen’s Association has repeatedly issued stern warnings to the Norwegian Government and the Parliament about not opening up LoVeSe for petroleum activities. Their argument is that neither activities nor an impact assessment should be initiated in this central and unique ocean area, which carries invaluable significance for many of Norway’s most important fish stocks.
The Norwegian interest organisation for fishermen has some 4,700 fishermen on its list of members.
Chairman Kjell Ingebrigtsen last Wednesday sent a letter to Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg in which he asks that the views of Norwegian and Russian fishermen are respected in the coming discussions related to petroleum activity in the Barens Sea as well as Lofoten.
Want Norwegian-Russian coordination
- The letter from our Russian friends also addresses the need for Norwegian-Russian coordination of the Barens Sea petroleum activities, and they refer to the process related to following up the overall management plan for the Barents Sea and Lofoten, Ingebrigtsen writes in his letter to the PM.
Following the recent Norwegian parliamentary elections and the government parties’ subsequent approach towards other parties, the same letter has been issued to the Labour Party and opposition leader Jonas Gahr Støre (Labour).
The Russian fish industry union is clear that it fully supports the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association’s view that no petroleum and exploration activity should be initiated in the Nordland VI, Nordland VII, Troms II and Mørebankene blocks.
- It is based on these areas being key spawning and catching areas and that any activity in these areas may have significant and large negative consequences for the fish industry both in Norway and in Russia. These are areas that require special treatment and they are important for both Norwegian and Russian fishermen, Ingebrigtsen writes in his letter.
The statement from the Russian fisheries union fully supports the NFA’s views on this matter and should thus weigh heavily in as a qualified opinion to the Solberg government’s further considerations and managing of the issue, says Norwegian Fishermen’s Association’s Chairman Kjell Ingebrigtsen.
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