Wants less cruise-vessels to Svalbard
The Norwegian Polar Institute wants cruise-vessels to stay away from the untouched areas in the North-East Svalbard and South-East Svalbard nature reserves, reports BarentsObserver.com
“The areas on eastern Svalbard are unique pearls for the world. We hope they can remain as much untouched as possible,” says director of the Norwegian Polar Institute Jan-Gunnar Winter to the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten. That would provide researchers with the untouched reference areas that they require.
The strict regulation proposal from the Polar Institute in regard to cruise ships is met with scepticism from the Governor of Svalbard. In a hearing, the Governor outlines his views.
The Governor feels that the ‘mirroring’ principle in the proposal, in which disembarkation of cruise tourists is only allowed at certain places, is too drastic a measure that is not well founded, that will cause considerable conflict and will not provide researchers with the untouched reference areas that they require. In addition, the proposal is not clarified in regard to safety at sea at the disembarkation sites.
Both for professional and process-related reasons, the Governor recommends another solution: Out of consideration for the reserves’ value as reference areas for research, it is recommended that, via preparation of a management plan for the two nature reserves, a total ban on traffic in 1-2 large areas is considered, by authority of the existing protection regulations.
The Governor recommends that a management plan is worked out in cooperation and dialogue with the relevant user groups, by organising a reference group containing representatives from research, tourism and relevant authorities.
In recent year more and more cruise vessels are sailing to the arctic archipelogo of Svalbard.