New rules to protect Barents Sea habitats
Ten areas of the Barents Sea are closed under regulations designed to protect vulnerable species

New rules to protect Barents Sea habitats

A new set of restrictions, which will come into force on 1st July this year, are designed to provide increased protection for vulnerable species in areas of the Barents Sea.

Under these rules, ten areas will be off-limits for all demersal fishing, and there will be a new demarcation of areas where demersal fishing can be carried out and where such fishing requires licensing by the Directorate of Fisheries. The regulations will also secure a consideration for how new fishing gear and changed use of existing fishing gear affects the seabed.
‘Soft corals, sponges and other vulnerable species on the seabed are important for marine life. At the same time, they can be damaged by fishing activity. We now have new rules in place to ensure better protection of these species,’ said Norway’s Minister of Fisheries Harald Tom Nesvik, commenting that restrictions implemented in 2011 to protect such vulnerable areas have proved to be unsatisfactory for parts of the Barents Sea, hence the need to revisit this.
The new regulation is based on a thorough review of seabed conditions, fishing activity and catch and research data. The industry has also contributed with important information in the process.
‘I particularly want to emphasise the positive dialogue with the industry in this work. This has been crucial in order to put in place a balanced set of rules, which safeguards the protection and the economic interests of the industry,’ Harald Tom Nesvik said.