Author: bertram

Problems with seaweed cultivation.

Nearly every month there seems to be a new exciting project aimed at seaweed cultivation – perhaps this video may explain why there untimately seems to be so little of it.

It also explains why it is important to have as few animals as possible attaching themselves to the plants – Commercial harvesting on the Norwegian coast is done in such a way as to minimize “fouling” or the attachment of animals, unfortunately this is in wild seaweed forests which cover most of the coast.  The effects are very noticeable to those who fish in the zone but so far our polititians have ignored this


Significant movement. Our Brochure.

Just recently our brochure has at last been published.

It is not intended as an attack on individuals in the industry but as a dissemination of facts.

Fortunately for us we have already had some of the facts criticized and have borne up well.

Everything in this brochure can be verified by scientific papers or well sourced reports from reputable and reliable sources.


double click to read

double click to read


double click to read

double click to read

Massive loss of carbon absorbing plants.

Here is a rather long and complicated paper from Imr on Carbon capture and food production in the fjords of Norway.
There is a great deal here that speaks loudly against the destructive harvesting of our seaweed beds, however the most definitive is this snip – essentially it says that an estimated 150 million tons more co2 would be bound up in our ecology if the seaweed forests in the north of our Norway had not been destroyed by sea urchin predation – the 150 million tons would be over a period of 40 years .

click to read

click to read


This initially is not a attack on the seaweed harvesting industry but a careful look back in time tells a slightly different story.
Verbal history from my colleague in stopptt tells me that he has plenty of people from as far north as the Lofoten islands who tell him that in the early 1980s seaweed dredging was a major activity all the way up the coast.
We have papers clearly revealing that the removal of seaweed – by trawling or other mechanical means leads to the opening up of those areas for population explosions of sea urchins.

So in other words it is entirely possible that the plague of sea urchins costing our fisheries so dear has been brought about by Taretråling – further still if this paper is right then it has led to a significant increase in carbon in the atmosphere.
To cap that there has been recent “test trawling” above Trondheim and islands out to sea with the removal of a declared 30,000 tons of seaweed – this of course would mean a destruction of approximately 5 times that amount because that is the official figure for waste.
So If the plague was introduced by taretråling why in the world is there no investigation and why in the world are they allowed in such a fragile area.
It makes no sense.

How much does seaweed dredging earn?

This little article is about an investment from Fmc food and nutrition in their plant at Karmøya.

It also gives information on how much the best alginates are worth – we knew they were worth a lot some time ago but this takes our breath clear away  – the stated harvest is 5,000 tons plus – the best alginates sell for 3,000 nkr per gram – GRAM


No wonder our polititians are prepared to sacrifice so much – ON OUR BEHALF –


click to read

click to read

click to read

click to read



The big question is – is it right to destroy millions of animals for this profit?

worse still to allow and trust an american owned company from a corporation with such an appalling record.

Mass destruction of wildlife – from scientific papers.

The reason this industry is allowed on the Norwegian coast is because scientists say it is safe.

We can only suppose that this is the case – because we really dont know.

All indications are that it is not.

What we do know is that this industries activities are an experiment – that is insofar as the Norwegian state knows –

what we do know is that FMC biopolymer has more knowledge on how this works worldwide than any government or scientific organization – why?

Because theyve been harvesting and observing worldwide since the 50s.

In that time we know that many countries have had their seaweed beds destroyed by overharvesting.  Information is well buried.


We found some from our state run Niva.


Here is the paper concerned$FILE/5150_200dpi.pdf


Front page

Front page of on image to read.


This says that after taretråling – seaweed dredging – 2% of the original animal life is left

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Further reading shows puzzlement from the authors as to why FMC health and nutrition needs the entire coast to harvest

when the actual area needed according to the figures is only 87 square kilometers.

We suspect it is to do with the first snip – animal life reduced to 2% of its original.  We know that the alginate extract requires minimal animal life and that marine organisms spread from unharvested areas so they are very simply trying to destroy as much animal life as they can – with of course the permission of our politicians and ably abetted by various state run marine protection organizations – this is wholly unacceptable.  Essentially it means that millions of animals/seabirds are starving to death because there is no food.

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Because harvesting occurs every 4 th year and the animals take between 5 and 9 years to return to their former population levels it is estimated that only 8% of the original life returns.



More damaging news for the Taretråling industry.

Helgeland Regionråd is an organization working with the 7  countiesAlstahaug,Dønna,Herøy,Leirfjord,Rødøy,Træna and vefsn.

It has just released a document detailing its concerns over taretråling – essentially it says that as the seaweed forests on their coasts have the highest density of life on the planet they are deeply concerned that there has been no documentation on the consequences of taretråling on their coast.

It goes further,  they want a report on the consequences before further permission is allowed.  So in other words 7 counties are deeply concerned on the effects and want this industry to stop.

Fd TT 1   Click to read document.


so why is it only these 7 – Taretråling has been going on in other parts of Norway for many years  why arent the other counties doing the same?

Possibly the answer is not the damage done to the environment but pure economics.


Worse still, the other counties are prepared to sell our environment to an American Owned company without any regard at all for the consequences.  We have papers detailing loss of important food species – crabs – lobsters and many types of fish – other documents tell of some not commercially important species having their populations devastated.  We know it seriously affects many bird species – we again have papers on this.

The worst aspect of this is that we rely on science – we trust it, even when our common sense tells us different – perhaps to be more exact we rely on scientists – the scientists concerned with this do not have enough research to show that taretråling is safe – they do not know the consequences of removing such vast masses of plant material or destroying such massive amounts of wildlife.

It is becoming apparent however that those consequences are beginning to show – it wont be long before our politicians will begin to want answers.






Havsforskningsinstituttet – Norways state owned sea research organization.

Just found a video on you tube – it is from the Havsforskningsinstituttet – essentially it says that they are going to do research on taretråling so they can tell if it has any effects on the environment and ecology.

It was posted 3 months ago.

What is so fascinating about this is that all the research has been done – in 2002 or earlier – the research they are talking about was discussed at length at the last taretråling meeting 2 years ago in Trondheim.  They told us then  they have all the results they need. We filmed the meeting too

Well so do we – we’ve read the documents.

However this is a little uncoordinated –



Current situation

Norways coast is being trawled for seaweed. Every part that can be trawled is being trawled.

We know that bottom trawling re distributes pollutants such as pcbs which are normally taken up by bottom sediment.

These pollutants are redistributed in the food chain and are ultimately ingested by us – these chemicals are cancer and other disorder causing.

We know that seaweed removes sediment from water and that the plants absorb dangerous chemicals – and many other pollutants including large amounts of nitrogen and co2.

The information on this is hidden behind simple statements such as “we only harvest .03% – there is so much that we cannot possibly make any difference and so forth. These statements cannot be verified – worse they are accepted by politicians and researchers without question.

However our seabirds are dying – many of the bird reserves that have been opened for trawling have empty colonies – we have 1 paper on the effects of seaweed trawling on cormorants (skarv) it says that after trawling the birds cannot survive because there is not enough food in the sea. There are no other papers we know of about. Possibly the main reason being negative publicity for the industry followed by restrictions on the type of research state organizations are allowed to undertake on grounds of economic influences.

Trawling in norway is undertaken by one company FMC biopolymers – it is part of an american corporation FMC corp that has received world record fines for fraud – pollution, price fixing cartels and worse. It is responsible for the manufacture of Carborufan or furadan one of the most environmently destructive insecticides ever produced – it has been used to decimate large predator populations such as lions, hyenas – birds of prey and other animals and yet the Norwegian state is happy to allow this one company a complete monopoly.

A year ago fmc proudly announced that every one of its seaweed trawlers would be fitted with tracking devices so that the controversial question of trawlers harvesting in areas closed to harvesting would be solved – to date 8 out of the 14 known trawlers have had this ais tracking fitted.  We are kept well informed by other organizations and individuals – so it is no surprise to learn that there has been alleged illegal harvesting in an area where the effluent from a factory processing radioactive material is known to flow – however we have been unable to verify this report.

There are 2 types of tracking. One is the standard marine tracking which all boats over a certain size have to have fitted – all the trawlers have this but it seems every one has turned it off so no public tracking is possible – the other system which cannot be turned off is only tracked by the fiskeriedirektoratet who are the regulating body.

We have caught one boat illegally fishing and in spite of attempts by the police to delay and subvert the process it was successful.

The second attempt by a colleague on the island of Runde is being bitterly fought by FMC biololymers who have denied the charge.

We have successfully managed to get the boats prosecuted under marine laws as the boats after harvesting are often grossly overloaded – this has led to a attack on one of our observers so it is quite clear it is having an effect. 

However the skippers and seamen involved should be grateful to us as those regulations are there to protect their lives – overloaded ships are dangerous to other ships and those onboard.  

The Beginning of the end??

The beginning of the end?


Some great news – Møre and Romsdal county have refused permission/stopped seaweed dredging in some sensitive areas on our coast.  Weather this is due to the letters and protests they received last year from individuals and organizations is not known.




but it is causing some discomfort in the industry.


Ole Damm Kvilhaug

Terje Halsteinsen – a senior figure in the fiskeriedirektoratet (here he is giving a speech at the meeting in Trondheim – the article is worth reading)

says they have been doing this for years so they have no reason to suspect it is unsustainable.


Terje Halsteinsen adj


It is most interesting to read that they harvest 60, 000 tons in this area alone – but what the article does not mention is that to do this, officially they destroy 5 times that amount – that is 300,000 tons – we believe it is far more, but those are the official figures.  The figures for each harvesting area are between 15% and 80% removed – it does not take much to figure out that there are some interesting discrepancies here.


What we find hard to understand is that they are supposed to harvest so little – .03% but to do that they need the entire coast.

Areas of seaweed harvest  Map from Net algae – the eus report on the seaweed harvesting industry – they also sponsor some of it.


It is clear that our nature is being seriously affected by this industry with Bird colonies emptying where trawling takes place.  


Papers from serious institutions clearly say that the forests need between 6 to 9 years to reach former biodiversity, not the 5 or even 4 claimed – it is clear that the industry needs to have the areas harvested so frequently because they are conditioning the forests to have minimal epiphytes and fish life, but why the various state run bodies are supporting this is a mystery – they must know full well that sooner or later the degradation of our marine environment will become apparent and they will at best look incompetent – it is not difficult to find information about the deleterious effects of over harvesting by hand let alone by dredging.   Not to mention the re distribution of pcbs and other dangerous chemicals by disturbing bottom sediments and affecting their reabsorption, just as all bottom trawling does.


Bottom trawling pcbs etc  Click to read.



We hope and trust that other kommune up and down the coast begin to read the necessary articles themselves so they can come to a opinion based on scientific fact not so called scientific opinion from the havsforskningsinstitut and other state run organizations.


(thanks Jens)