Author: bertram

Acidic seas from CO2


In the case of the effects of commercial seaweed harvesting it seems most experts are very careful to make statements that do the least harm. They dont want to cause ripples –

Belona co2 in the seaclick on image to enlarge

so this article on the effects green house gasses are having on our seas is most alarming in that there is no mention of seaweed that i can see and yet Norway is busy destroying its seaweed beds as fast as it possibly can.

Destroying – that is the correct word. Where is the precedent for this.

Brazil – Chile – Peru – what happened there???

Why has chile, one of the worlds poorest countries banned seaweed harvesting in 2008?

Interestingly enough Japan as long ago as the early 1900s started cultivating seaweed because it found harvesting continuously, destroyed the seaweed beds.

Article on japanese seaweed to read

We asked Bellona (one of Norways major environmental groups) what they felt about seaweed trawling, but they were unable to comment because they were busy on a project working with fmc biolopymers – the company that taretråwls the coast.

This is currently the areas regulated by the fiskeriedirektoratet but Harvesting is ocurring in a much larger area with so called “test “Trawling.  In fact currently the entire coast where seaweed grows in sufficient amounts to support the industry.

Map from the fiskeriedirektoratets website of trawling areas .

Areas of trawling


Even though FMC biopolymers say they only take 0.03% of the available amount it seems strange that they require such a large area to do so – it also seems strange that as officially each area looses between 15 and 80% of its seaweed from harvesting this figure is still adhered to.





 Are we really  doomed to repeat history because our researchers are not looking i the right places (to please our polititians?)  If i can find the information – so can they)

As a result the organizations responsible for regulating the harvest do not have enough information to call a halt either.

(how do i know this??? Ive asked them.)

when the esteemed scientists telling us our seas are becoming too acid through carbon dioxide absorption finally add seaweed harvesting to the list of causes it may be far too late.



Environmental activism.

Part of Environmental activism is about following closely the activities of your target and logging their activities, then contacting the authorities and using the law to prosecute any infringement of the environment you think may be taking place.

Any company operating in the environment should be happy for you to do this as it would be a clear bonus to them if they are found to be operating legally, it also sharpens managers and operatives so they are more aware.  This is a plus on every side.

If they are doing something illegal it will sooner or later cost them far more when the environmental damage or in this case overloading comes to light in an disastrous way.

This is what a laden taretråwler looks like – we felt it was dangerous so we reported it to the

Sjøfartsdirektoratet  in Ålesund complete with videos, time, and geographical information.  A prosecution ensued.


overladen tt.jpg covered click to enlarge.

This is what an unladen taretråwler looks like

Unladen name coveredclick to enlarge.


The address is

Sjøfartsdirektoratet Ålesund

Kongensgate 25

6002 Ålesund


For more details contact us at 95093533



How can you do something constructive to help?

Taretråling is conducted by a Norwegian run, American owned company – They have every freedom needed to operate a massive seaweed trawling business on the coast, however there are limits regulated by the Directorate of Fisheries.  These limits are supposed to conserve some of the wildlife otherwise destroyed by the trawlers activities so it is vital they are adhered to.

These limits are set out here

Fiskeriedir home page

Click on the photo to read

The page concerned is marked with an arrow and underlined

On that page you will see this


Click on photo to read


click on tare høstefelt and you will have the areas where taretråling, or seaweed trawling is allowed.

Høstefeldt selected

when the map has been selected you can use the mouse wheel to enlarge the picture such as here, you can also left click and hold down to drag the map across the screen to expose new areas.

Taretråling areas marked

Click to enlarge


The hatched areas are where they are allowed to harvest.  The code in each area signifies the year they are allowed to harvest in that area.

so for instance a trawler fishing in the hatched area on this map would be harvesting legally – in the clear or unhatched area – ilegaly and thus subject to fines and other penalties.

Lower boundary of permission

Click to enlarge


If the boats are fishing in the areas marked as non fishing zones you will require video or photographs and clear land or sea marks so the position can be clearly triangulated.

We have successfully managed a prosecution because we had a line of markers clearly in our video – on one side it was legal, on the other illegal.

Once you have this information you need to contact the fiskeriedirektoratet

fiskeriedir kontact

Click to enlarge




contacts with other groups. TAKING CHARGE.

Slowly the quality and quantity of contacts with other organizations are growing.

The most important part of Environmentalism is information and its free use.  Once you have understood where and how your contacts stand then some really useful work can begin.

An article in Miljøvernforbunds                                                                                                                       magazine MILJØ MAGASINET

miljø adj

was pointed out to us – It was about seaweed tråwling or taretråling – one of the major points was that large amounts of seabirds disappear when Taretråling is done in the area – permanently too it seems.

Taretråling adj


We have contacted  the Norwegian ornithological organization   about this but they dont seem to be interested – weve spoken to many major ornithologists but their attitude seems to be – “WE ARE THE EXPERTS , AND WE DONT SEE ANYTHING UNUSUAL.”      In other words they own the ornithological world and what they say goes.

It seems that the same is happening here

snip nrk article  click for enlargement

An expert from the havasforsknings institut of Norway has said that there is no evidence that seismic testing affects sealife – so many people have been doing internet research and come up with very prestigious articles to the contrary .  It seems that Havsforsknings institut thinks they own information and can interpret it how they like to influence such matters.

commentsclick to read

This is just my comments but there are beginning to be many more with links –

In the scientific world it is reputation that is the most important thing  – our marine biologists and scientists are aware of this – it must be very frightening to have to please 2 masters at the same time.

More on Trawling.

Here is an article in Norwegian on Trawling – (from Jens)

havsforsknings institut tråling  click on image for full size   article in full.

What i find most interesting about this is the difference in the information in this article and this one – this is very short and just a little part of a much larger piece


More sediments from tråling

It is almost as if the information is being filtered.  Now who would benefit from that?

Bottom Trawling

Following the various debates on trawling it is clear that Norway has a 20 kilometer zone inside which no bottom trawling is allowed.

The details i have not been able to firmly ascertain but reading the wikipedia article on trawling some things begin to make sense

Wiki sedimentsDouble click on image to enlarge.


One major effect of bottom dredging is the disturbance of sediments

The re suspension of sediments means the release of chemicals back into nature   This is a report on just this.

sediments - pcbs Double click to read snip

We have nothing on the effects of continual trawling in the seaweed beds but i cannot imagine there is a major difference here – this occurs along the entire coast including bird reserves.

Could this be why  it is illegal to land blue halibut from Bodæ to Lofoten, or outside of Lofoten – they are contaminated by pcbs, but nobody seems to be aware of where these chemicals come from.

Blåkveite fisking stengtdouble click to read


Norway is a country well aware of any major marine disturbance so why is this allowed –

perhaps this article may give some answers


We also found some anomalies at the last meeting on Taretråling in Trondheim – there seems to be some confusion about the rights of these trawlers

Final day of the Trondheim seaweed harvesting Meeting.

It seems even the most senior in the fiskeriedirektoratet whose job it is to regulate the activities of these boats are more interested in protecting their activities then they are in regulating them.

Seems strange that ordinary trawlers have such strict regulations whereas Seaweed trawlers have every difficulty removed, including priority over ancient rights belonging to our fishermen.

It appears many of Norways major institutions are governed by industrialists involved with exploiting marine resources.  This is quite understandable and in fact common – however the cost in terms of health to individuals and the state and indeed the ultimate cost should their activities impact nature in the way we are all warned about would dwarf any benefit accrued to society or to the individuals concerned.



Seaweed harvesting – information problems

Over the last few years i have been studying seaweed and its harvesting worldwide on the internet.

A number of things stand out very clearly through contacts with universities, businesses the scientists concerned and many state and private organizations involved with marine protection and welfare –



The first is that there is no coordinated information on seaweed harvesting, its effects and worldwide activities.


Some of the state organizations are amazingly ill informed.

There seems to be no information on the effects of over harvesting, and very little historical data.


Universities and researchers seem to be so focused on parts of their particular subject that they seem to be completely unaware of major issues directly concerned with their subject coming from other major research institutions and organizations freely available on the internet. Many research subjects are duplicated.


Research is dependent on complete openness and honesty – good researchers rely on status and qualifications. If facts and figures are called into doubt then the credulity of the scientists involved is also called into doubt – status is very important.


The scientific world is extremely conservative in outlook and approach – whilst this is a plus for integrity it is open to exploitation.

Information is easy to control as it relies on funding, many of the Norwegian state funded research institutions have industrialists sitting on their boards.

Most environmental problems seem to be involved with business in one way or another.


The penalties for withholding information or falsifying information seem to be very minor. Any large concern caught lying can carry on with business as normal.


Public outlook and awareness is exploited by organizations and businesses involved with marine harvesting to cover up the effects of their activities.


Seabirds dying

it seems that the famous bird reserve on Runde is having problems.  Some specis of birds have nearly completely disappeared and others are in trouble.


The article mentions climate change and the warming of our seas as being responsible for the change in fish prey, but no mention at all of Norways biggest marine industry currently raking the entire seaboard for seaweed.

Fully laden tt


The connection perhaps requires research but the big question is first is there any research in this direction and second if there was and the result was positive, would it be published?


it is interesting to note that Peru and Chile had big problems with sea life in 2011

Big concerns  involved with seaweed harvesting there including our FMC BIOPOLYMERS – there are a number of theories about this but the fact is the animals appear to have died of starvation.

Thiamine deficiency can do this and the symptoms are difficult to diagnose – this can come about even from some specis of prey fish such as anchovies and herring – their gut from time to time can contain thiaminase which destroys thiamin

Articles are not too difficult to find .

We dont know the mechanisms involved with continual seaweed harvesting in the same areas – we need a great deal more research – but if our seabirds and mammals start dying in numbers then one can say that the same is happening here and there is one common factor.

How important are our seaweed forests??



Naturgrunnlag og fiskeri henger sammen


Stortare. Foto: Øystein Paulsen

Stortare. Foto: Øystein Paulsen

Foto: Foto: Øystein Paulsen / Foto: Øystein Paulsen


Det var for så vidt noe vi visste, men vi ble fascinert da Norsk Institutt for Vannforskning (NIVA) og Fiskeridirektoratet la fram sine rapporter om naturgrunnlaget i sjø og fiskeri sist torsdag. Foto: Øystein Paulsen



Hartvig Christie fra NIVA

Hartvig Christie fra NIVA fortalte engasjert om produksjonen  i havet. Han  la spesielt vekt på de store tareskogområdene som  leverer store mengder næring og energi til både dypområdene og til strandsonen. Mengden såkalt biomasse som produseres i tareskogene i nasjonalparkområdene er beregnet il 60 000 tonn hvert år. Det gir mat og næring – hele året, ikke bare som plantemateriale men også med store mengder snegler og krepsdyr som i neste tur er mat for fisk. Tareskogene leverer økosystemtjenester som blant annet er viktig for fiskeriene. Det er grunn til å tro at tareskogene ut Jomfruland er svært viktige for produksjonen av reke i dypområdene utenfor. Rekefisket er bærebjelken i fiskeriene på Telemarkskysten.

Gunnar Larsen fra Fiskeridirektoratet

Gunnar Larsen fra Fiskeridirektoratet hadde en god gjennomgang av ressursgrunnlaget for fiskeriene i Telemark og hvordan de utvikler deg, blant annet  i lys av klimaendringer og overgjødsling. Det foregår en omstrukturering i fiskeriene langs hele norskekysten med færre, men mer effektive fiskere og båter. Fiskeri er fortsatt viktig som næringsveg i både Kragerø og Bamble, selv om det nå foregår på annen måte enn for noen tiår siden. Nå er trålfiske etter reke det aller viktigste. Det gir også bifangster av sjøkreps, torsk og andre fiskeslag som er etterspurt. Fiske etter leppefisk  på grunne områder har blitt viktig de siste årene. Leppefisk er «manikyrer» som fjerner lakselus fra laks i oppdrettsanlegg på Vestlandet og i Trøndelag.

Just a little footnote – Our little group STOPPTT:COM has probably done more direct action about taretråling than any other environmental organization with several prosecutions under our belts – this is because we do research and spend time monitoring what is going on.
Over the next few years this issue will grow in importance and bigger organizations will become involved.  Until then remember that you can do something  – ask your political representatives what they know about this matter – find out if they have read any papers or just have been told – write on our facebook side or send us a message at  – every little helps.

Thiamin and Thiaminase – Interesting connections with animal deaths.

All animals require vitamins.

Probably the most important is vitamin b1 or thiamin.

We were alerted to the thiamin deficiency syndrome by a large environmental group we work with in Norway.

There were a number of strange reports included – land mammals and birds were also dying –  so why – this could be a very reasonable answer

It appears that this chemical Thiaminase is produced by a number of land plants – and is found in the gut of very important sea food animals such as Herring and Sardines – what it does is it renders thiamine useless.   Wikis article on the matter.

This is a report on keeping seabirds and mammals      A small extract on Thiamin and Thiaminase

Thiamine : Thiaminase, which breaks down
the vitamin thiamine, is present in the
t issues of some ®sh. Feeding birds on stored
®sh alone may therefore present a risk of
thiamine de®ciency. However, there is litt le
evidence that this is a problem in practice in
seabirds (although it can be fatal in seamammals). The common practice of feeding
seabirds thiamine supplements tucked into
the opercula or gut of ®sh is also likely to be
of litt le bene®t , as thiaminase is present in
high concentration in the gills and guts and
will rapidly break down all the thiamine in
the supplements.

It seems that thiaminase is found in the gut of herring, and many other specis of fish – it is difficult to find out the mechanisms for this, for instance where the substance comes from and why – it is also found on the surface of some sea urchins, produced by algae – perhaps a protection.

Mass die off peru NY times

This article is about a mass die off of marine birds and dolphins

For the seabirds, he wrote, the “most plausible hypothesis so far” from the National Agricultural Health Service is that they are dying from a lack of food, mainly anchoveta (Engraulis ringens), a Peruvian anchovy, as a result of the sudden heating of coastal waters.

The Environment Ministry said the dolphin deaths had no link to fisheries, red tides or other biotoxins, bacteria, heavy metals or pesticides. It said it had also ruled out any connection to offshore seismic testing by companies to locate oil and gas deposits under the seabed.

The one thing the article does not mention is any connection with thiamin or thiaminase – pure speculation on my part?  There are a few indicators – Anchovies being a nearly exclusive food and thiaminase often being found in their guts and bodies – dolphins in another article appearing to be dying from too rapid ascent and descent causing the equivalent of the bends – a brain malfunction?? Thiamin deficiency can cause this –  How this is connected to seaweed destruction is unclear but it seems that nearly everything in our seas is connected in one way or another – there has been massive uncontrolled harvesting on those coasts, so much so that chile banned it in 2008 though it still continues.