Author: bertram

Effective Environmentalism.

Watching the Taretråwlers week in week out scraping the sea bottom is a emotive issue for anyone who loves nature and the sea.

We know from reading the reports that the company concerned wants the seaweed beds clear of epiphytes and animals – we know from reading documents on the Thiamin issue that our seabirds are dying – we see them from time to time – their movement is slow and uncoordinated, their wings hang listlessly – often we find the same seabird a few days later – floating in the water dead –

After trawling huge mounds of seaweed are washed ashore – the stalks and stems are completely bare of animal and plant life.  As trawling happens along the entire length of the Norwegian coast where there are viable seaweed beds we know this is everywhere.  There must be vastly larger amounts of stalks littering the sea floor – and this we know from fishermen who catch them in their hooks.


This is an empty taretråwler – you can judge its size from the man standing on the back outlined in yellow.

Blue tt with man


Fully laden tt       This is what a fully laden one looks like.





Talking to other environmentalists many say the same thing – its like a mantra – you can even see it on the taretråwlers website – the quantity of seaweed remains constant.   For many this is enough to walk away – for  the politicians we have spoken to it certainly is enough.

For us though we read further – the scientific papers actually say things like ” observations indicate that diversity of flora and fauna will be reduced within the trawled area. The diversity will probably not recover until the mean age of the plants reach the mean age of the large kelp plants in untrawled kelp forest. Mean age increase with increasing latitude and is about 7 years in mid-Norway ”  As harvesting occurs every 4th year this is not possible.   The word PROBABLY means they dont know.

this quote is from                       Rinde et al. 2006 – Effekter av taretråling


Those very simple words have a very STRONG MEANING – it means that the plants and animals normally living in the forests are not allowed to return.

THE FORESTS ARE DEPLETED.    How can that not be an important issue??

If you look at the maps you will see that the areas trawled are along the entire length of the coast – they even have access to over 90 bird reserves.

taretråling feldt fiskeridir

Many of the specis of animals in the forests cannot escape the trawlers so they die where the trawlers operate.

One variety of fish,  the gentle sygnathids would not be able to escape – this family includes the Seahorse of which specis the long nosed seahorse is found as far as North Norway – this is what the paper has to say about such animals   ”    We have little knowledge of rare species in marine ecosystems, and cannot exclude that a high trawling intensity in areas suitable for rare, unidentified species with poor dispersal properties, may lead to reduced occurrence and a negative development of these.”    Ie anything rare they may not know about will have a reduced population and even become extinct.

You cannot have much stronger words than those.


This article is about EFFECTIVE ENVIRONMENTALISM  one of our successes is the prosecution of a taretråwler for fishing illegally.  To date this is the only prosecution we are aware of – it seemed that our success only came after we taped a conversation with a senior police officer who felt it his duty to defend the boats no matter what.

More recently our activities have had several successes, but as they are still in the justice system it is not right to say anything other than the vehicle of one of our camera operators was attacked – unfortunately for the attacker he was filmed – we are not seeking to prosecute this but he should be aware that the film has been passed on to the appropriate authorities and we will prosecute if it happens again.









The local seaweed harvesting depot – Smørholm taremottak.

Smørholm is a little island tucked between land and kvitholmen just by the atlanterhavsveien.

This is where the local catch of seaweed is landed for processing and shipping.  The trawlers come here to download – it is a buisy place but i never quite realized how busy.  So here is the website run by the proud harvesters.


A little snip smørholm details

Essentially it says that they harvest around 500 tons per day – or 50,000 tons per year.

They say there is no bi catch – that is no animals in the plants – if that is correct then my assertion that the forests are empty is correct – they have successfully managed to remove animals and plants other than seaweed from the forests – it is not that difficult to imagine this as all papers on the matter say it takes 6 to 9 years for them to grow back and the harvesting is every 4 years or less.    What they mean is that there are no lobsters in the catch.  While that is not likely anyway we do have videos of fish dropping out of the catch as it is being moved to the macerator.

Our videos of the seaweed being washed ashore show no epiphytes on the stalks, they should be covered with animals, plants and eggs, they are not.  No wonder our ecology is in trouble.  It takes considerable research to define any major change in our environment – all our research institutes are owned by companies and or the state – we are certain that the state research organizations are reluctant to say or do anything that may  compromise the activities of the harvesting companies  further it is extremely unlikely that any company is going to do research that could compromise its business.

Back to captive regulation.


Salmon farming and Taretråling

The norwegian coast is a marvellous habitat, full of inlets and fjords – however the activities of business has begun to have a serious impact.

Our Marine Biologists are paid to research the impact of such industries as Seaweed trawling and fish farming. Without positive results those industries would be shut down, or would they??


One burning issue that is beginning to appear now is that of regulatory capture – that is where the regulators later become involved in the businesses they were supposed to regulate.

The worst example is Fukoshima – the worlds worst nuclear disaster the effects of which will be felt all over the world as the cancer rates begin to rise.  It appears that the regulators were all promised and got jobs in the nuclear industry – the promise of a top job and excellent pay may be enough – an article from the bbc outlining this

Corrupt environmental agencies

So it appears that many of the leaders in Norway’s seafood industry have the same kind of background – for instance the man responsible for taretråling on the Norwegian coast was a regulation enforcer for the fiskeriedirektoratet for nearly 12 years.

odk giving talk


Does this mean that reports are being falsified or research not properly conducted???

Without any clear documented proof i would not like to say one way or the other but it is clear that there can be and is a conflict of interest.

I think an interesting demonstration of this of this is the ex fisheries minister Elisabeth Berg-Hansen.

Essentially she is the deputy chairperson of the havsforskningsinstitut, one of the organizations charged with overseeing the state of our oceans.

She  also according to the wicki article ( sits at the top of all the health advisory committees as well as all related research institutes)

Here is an article from the uk daily mail   (you need to double click on the jpeg to read it)  but essentially it says that an article in the American journal science suggested that farmed salmon from Scotland and Norway is so full of toxic chemicals that it should not be eaten more than once in 4 months – more frequently and it could lead to significant neurological damage and cancer.  I dont think it can be plainer than that.

daily mail dangerus chemicals

Now this is quite interesting but there is far worse      –   one of the chemicals used in fish farming in Norway is called diflubenzuron,

This is apparently regularly used around the fish farms here, is what a Norwegian fish farmer has to say about it (double click on the image to read it)

Pesticide watch

Here is what the Canadian government has to say about Diflubenzuron It also says it should not be used near water or waterways – in Norway it is used in the sea – how can this be???Diflubenzoron canada

The eec also has something to say and its fuzzy as hell – not surprising really – however there are many other chemicals now in farmed salmon used by desperate salmon farmers,   many are banned and considered dangerous by other countries but not Norway – could it be because we have powerful politicians directing our health and research institutions??

Apparently Miljøvernforbund felt this too and here is a little snip from the wicki article Conflict of interest  (Again double click to read)

The really interesting part of the various articles is this – because the salmon are being fed animal material from other parts of the north sea many are full of pollutants already and thus are concentrated in the fish – heavy metals, pcbs and many other nasties.

Here is a last little snip about what is the result of this concentrated fish rearing.

Salmon farms dead zones


Should we be worried about dead zones, after all they are growing and multiplying rapidly – naaah, it wont effect us for a while(of course when it does its another matter)  no its the toxic algal blooms that should set the heart racing and worry the fish farmers – apparently the toxins become airbourne under certain conditions – that means youre actually breathing in a neurotoxin – from spray, mist or possibly even rain – so that essentially means you would get poisoned by going outside your home – can this be true???

Red tide lung problems FloridaThis is from an American newspaper and gives you facts.

So now we have really dangerous chemicals being added to the feed and water of farmed salmon okayed by a lady who sits on all the important committees, was the state secretary for fisheries and runs the biggest fish farming business in Norway – well there is far more to come –


Here is a very interesting document/book, it is called FOOD FROM THE OCEAN – Norway’s opportunities.


I find the initial premise a little frightening – by the year 2050 Norway should be feeding the world – it talks about  exploiting marine resources —-

“”Norway can indeed take the global lead in demonstrating best practices in economically and environmentally sustainable ways ” (of aquaculture production.)

A Norwegian led initiative is the European Joint program initiative for research on healthy and productive oceans – this sounds a great idea and something very valuable to our ecosystems – but apparently it is for the coordination and a greater degree of cooperation between the various research communities in Europe – further it says there are major benefits to be gained from the sharing of equipment and data.

This sounds very laudable but it also means the lowering of the potential damage independent research can do to a carefully structured story.  ie someone comes up with some research the results of which are contrary to your commercial interests you can do something about it.


This pdf document is quite interesting as it is a serious study of some of the chemicals used in salmon farming – it mentions pollution from copper and zinc under the salmon farms from the compounds used in anti fouling (i do know that some salmon farms have robots for cleaning the cages and nets and they are used continuously)  But no mention of the cadmium found in crustacea near to Elisabeth Berg-Hansens farms nor the use of diflubenzuron,



On this website i have put links to documents demonstrating that all is not well with our seas – that all is definatly not well with our leaders who are allowing some very desperate activities to take place – all in the interests of income – what i would dearly love is for someone to write to me and say – this document, or that document is wrong – INCORRECT – my conclusions are wrong – i want to be wrong – i would love to drop this campaigning as it does not earn me anything .  I know this site is well read so i can only conclude that i am not wrong, that my information is correct.






overview – disturbing

The Bbc has recently produced several reports on documents detailing the state of our oceans.

Reading them it is clear they are in real trouble with many of the issues ive allready mentioned on our other website

In them is there no mention of seaweed harvesting – so i got in contact with the scientists concerned – to my surprise ive been asked for information – here are eminent marine biologists who have just written major documents on the state of our oceans asking me for information on what seaweed does and how much is harvested worldwide.

This leads me to some interesting thoughts – how is it possible that this kind of information is not well known – there is no joined up research? In fact is it possible that this kind of information is owned by the corporations concerned?

What i have read shows that seaweed binds co2 – in fact a figure has been put on the worlds seaweed – it binds over 30 million tons.  I have figures from the crown services document on seaweed cultivation that laminaria hyperborea removes approximately 480 tons of nitrogen per 20 square kilometres – i have papers that reveal that seaweed in general removes many chemical substances including tnt 5 times faster than terrestial plants – it is well known that every marine organism concentrates anything dissolved in the seas including heavy metal which is why it is so dangerous to eat fish from polluted areas, so why is this not in their calculations – why???

The most logical explanation is that if seaweeds role in maintaining our seas was revealed then they would be more valuable than any monetry value placed on them.  This could lead to a moratorium of the activities of companies such as fmc biopolymers who after all belong to a corporation guilty of some of the most grevious pollution commited anywhere, whoose greed is exemplified by world record fines for price fixing cartels – that is they conspired with other companies to fix prices of chemicals – that last sentence is probably the key.


Global warming is now not in question.  The phillipines and other natural disasters are increasing as predicted.

Major scientists are warning us that our seas are dying.  Can we afford in view of that to allow our seas and their ecology to be ravaged for a product that is mainly a food additive and by companies with such a dubious record when it is cultivated anyway?


Just a last little comment – i have just been watching a video about a man whose child was taken from him by the uk social services – his investigation shows that there is a huge money making business involved – with consultants getting huge fees, homes getting incredible sums for looking after these children – the ramifications go right into parliament, the press is being censored– if this can happen then what is a little fooling with statistics and figures to a big international company.




Letter to the council/kommune explaining why taretråling should be stopped 2

Seaweed detoxifying marine pollutants


page 10

   When we posed this question at Runde we were told that seaweed removes little pollution from the sea – documents we trust tell us otherwise. 

  Our dialague with marine biologists have not reinforced our trust particurly as we are told(privately) that many reports are censored and that those that speak out loose their jobs.   It is nearly impossible for a qualified marine biologist to find work if he or she has upset anyone in either the industry or the state.

   It was interesting to hear a very senior official from the fiskeriedirektoratet tell the meeeting at Trondheim that taretrawlers have the same rights as any other fishing boats and that the old law of first right applies to them as to any fisherman – he was quoting from a 1995 law – we had a copy of the 2011 update which denies that.

   This article from the bbc paints a intriguing picture of how the state and industry can become so entwined that the work of either is hampered, it is called regulatory capture.

   The regulators are promised work in the industry they are supposed to regulate, as a result regulation comes second.  In the case of Fukoshima the cost will be the highest for any disaster ever.

  It is possible that every person on this planet may be paying for that soon.

 Corrupt environmental agencies

There are some distressingly similar characteristics here.  For instance the rawstoffchef in FMC biopolymer              O:D: Kvilhaug worked for the fiskeriedirektoratet as a case handler for 12 years, there are many other instances.

   We work in conjunction with a number of organisations and pass information though most of ours is freely available on the internet


    • It is reasonable to assume that if the defence mechanism of tare is triggered then many specis of animals would not choose to be in the seaweed forests.  It is logical to assume that there is a general

page 12

    • lowering of the amount of thiamine available as a result to those animals at the top of the food chain such as birds.

    We contacted Lennert Balk the lead scientist in this work and he agreed that this was a strong posibility.

     Some countries such as chile and peru have had a very agressive seaweed harvesting industry.  We have evidence to suggest that the seaweed beds in Brazil suffered collapse from overharvesting –  though we have only vague reports.

   It was noted that in january 2012 there was a very large die off of marine mammals and birds along that coast.  Reasons given varied from mobilovirus to pollution, but finally the state declared it was starvation

  Lennert Balks article  states that many observers are unable to distinguish between starvation and the effects of the Thiamine deficiency syndrome.  There have been large die offs of birds along the norwegian coast put down to the presence of large numbers of mackrel removing food normally taken by the birds however attempts at finding out if there has been any research done on this matter have led nowhere with no response at all from ornithological groups or individual scientists.

       Commercial scale seaweed harvesting in the west is a relatively new phenomena – the income is impressive – we have information that the best alginates fetch up to 180 dollars per gram – if the yield per load is between 5 and 10 tons per boat then the income is indeed huge and would account for ecological consequences coming second

Page 13

      Recent articles and papers talk about ecological disaster concerning our seas –  the enrichment is approaching catastrophic proportions – the channel coasts of france and

the uk are annualy covered by huge drifts of Ulva specis of seaweed. (this is the same in many parts of the world)

   This type of plant takes over after ordinary seaweeds have been removed. 

      Decomposing seaweed on the Brittany coast have led to the deaths of many mammals – horses, wild boars and even the death of at least one man – the cost of the annual clean up is over 160 million euros and is bourne by the French Government.

     – officialy it is due to effluent from pig farms but no one can say that the annual French seaweed harvest is not having an effect.

Even Seaweed cultivating can have an effect – in shingdao china there is an annual slick of this type of seaweed – 2013 the slick covered over 30,000 square kilometres.

    The effects of our seas becoming enriched are well documented – a major effect is the increase of harmful algal blooms.  These are polulation explosions of microscopic algae which as a by product of their metabolism produce toxins such as domic acid which are nerve agents. Normally these would effect shellfish and make those eating them very sick, however in the usa these toxins are reportedly becoming airbourne effecting all on or near the sea.

Red tide lung problems Florida

Norway is not immune from this either – we have an organisation monitoring this


Norwegian algal blooms monitoring

In the usa harmful algal blooms have been increasing massively – but the sickness that occurs from this is not as major an issue as the occurence on the coast of peru and chile in the 70s where over 500 people died from a cholera epidemic – this is caused by contamination of drinking water however in this case it was carried in the sea by an unusual enrichment of algae – the bacteria attached themselves to the drifting plants and were carried from place to place along the coast – this document from the lancet publication details the events – the article goes further to mention marine enrichment.

We are told repeatedly by fmc biopolymers that there is no documented proof that taretråling does any harm.  Repeat anything enough and you will come to believe it –        

       However in view of the reports and scientific documents and the health of the Norwegian coast it is foolhardy to allow this to continue without further research.  One vital element of which should be careful analysis of what has happened in

Page 16

other countries(by independant researchers) concerning this industry and why so much of the world currently only grows seaweed  and dosent harvest it from the wild as it has done in the past!!

  •             Our communications with marine biologists worldwide indicate a culture that is not perceptive of new ideas. 

  •            It has few specialists and few who dare publicly to call in question the activities of large companies using the sea,  nor produce information that may harm the seaweed harvesting industry.

  •             There is also a  suspiciously consistent ignorance of the activities of commercial seaweed harvesting companies with environmental charities and organisations. 

Dette papir kommer fra

Bertram Sømme  95093533

Letter to the council/kommune explaining why taretråling should be stopped.

Page 1

Why Taretråling should be stopped

Seaweed harvesting on the scale that it is currently

undertaken needs to be researched before it is allowed to continue for the following reasons

  •   Historicaly there is evidence that it has been stopped in other countries due to changes it has wraught in the environment and ecology

  •     There are currently major changes in the ecology of the worlds oceans – the cause is supposedly unknown.  However if you combine the amounts harvested by all countries then the amount is considerable.  No research is or had been conducted on the overall effect. 

  •      Seaweed binds an estimated 30 million tons of co2 endangering this is foolhardy.

  •   Seaweed removes many dangerous chemicals and heavy metals from the sea – it is a vital defence against pollution

  •       Norway top marine biologists have admitted in public they know nothing of the defence chemicals seaweed produces when under stress – the effect this is having on the ecology is unknown.

  •      Norways top marine biologists have admitted in public they know nothing of the thiamine deficiency in seabirds that has been described decimating seabird populations.

  •      Senior members of the fiskeriedirektoratet have been quite happy to make statements in public about taretrawlers and the current regulations which are untrue (at Trondheim)

          Page 2

  •      Attempts were made to prevent the first prosecution of taretrawlers for trawling in areas which were set aside for ecological reasons.

  •         Senior members of fmc biopolymers are or have been employed by the fiskeriedirektortet and other marine protection organisations demonstrating captive regulation and a clear conflict of interest.

  • Taretråling now occurs along the entire length of the coast where there is enough weed to harvest – this has never happened before

Areas of seaweed harvest

In the late 1800s a japanese firm engaged in seaweed harvesting found that removing the weed from the seabed

Page 3

constantly led to unwanted specis taking over the place of the original plant.

 This led to cultivation as the only way forwards and is continued to this day.

Article on japanese seaweed harvesting.

There is ample evidence to suggest that something similar is happening on the coast of Norway with the dissapearance of sukker tare and other plants in skagerak

 Dramatic seaweed loss of coast of Norway.

This is from the  xx seaweed symposium 2010 in california

    This article mentions the possibility of marine enrichment as a possible cause – as seaweeds remove large amounts of

Page 4

nitrogen,phophate and other chemicals it is entirely possible that a change in the amount of seaweed along europes coasts may be responsible.  Figures for the amount of Nitrogen that laminaria Hyperborea removes per year are very high – it is an estimated 480 tons per 20 square kilometres if the figures from the crown services document are to be believed.

Steen removal of notrogen from water by seaweed

(this again from the crown services document)

Further if the amount of Laminaria Hyperborea on the Norwegian coast is accurately acessed then the amount it removes is well over 100,000 tons per year. 

To endanger this by allowing a American owned company (from a corporation with with possibly the worlds worst record of environmental pollution, permanent environmental damage, record fines for price fixing cartels and even record fines for fraud ) totally free access is reprehensible to say the least.

 Steen amounts of seaweed on coast of norway.

       Unfortunatly we have not been able to find out how this figure was arrived at.

      This information comes from Netalgae sponsored by the European Union and other organisations.  The documents also have information on the harvesting in

Portugal,France,and spain.

The combination of all this harvesting must be having a profound effect on the ecosystem – in fact France is still harvesting Calcified seaweed which is against the ospar agreement – the uk also harvested this for some years before it was banned.

   Taretråling is illegal in the uk, in fact there is only one licence for harvesting in the uk, and that is a one man operation and that is cutting by hand.  

     The netalgae document on Norwegian taretråling echoes all the other literature we have seen – essentialy it says that the forests are harvested before they reach maturity – in other words there is a systematic attempt at lowering the amount of wildlife in the seaweed forests – apparently this is to produce a better alginate extract – but it may also have the effect of reducing the amount of food and its quality available

Page 6

for our fish and birds reduction in epiphytes and marine life

There is no doubt that the areas harvested are severly reduced in wildlife after the harvests and are not allowed to recover – this quite obviously affects bird and other wildlife as seen in this paper by sv lorentzen.

Essentialy it says that the skarv are unable to survive after taretråling – this is noted in many parts of Norway by other observers.  If it affects Skarv (cormorants) it also effects other birds – but unfortunatly there seems to be no or little research on this issue.

  The crown services document mentions iodine in the plants

We have found a report indicating this to be a powerful tool.

  • many terrestial plants have a similar mechanism.

Page 6

  • One of the most researched is the acacia tree

    the poison is produced within 20 minutes of an attack – signals are passed to other plants rapidly and they also produce the poison.

     In one nature reserve a group of 300 kodu were fenced in and had no other food – they all died within a very short period.  It is reasonable to assume that the effect of major disturbance in a seaweed forest would be similar.  If signals are passed from area to area it is possible that the overall effect would be to empty the forests.

    After harvesting we have observed drifts of seaweed washed ashore at Hustadvika – sometimes as much as a metre deep – the stalks are completely bare of epiphytes.  This is not a one off occurence but happens every time they trawl and they trawl in the same area at Hustadvika for up to a year. 

   Unfortunatly there seems to be very little research on the iodine  issue – we asked the biologists present at the taretråling meeting in trondheim in public, if they knew anything about this – they answered they knew nothing – present were many leaders from the havsforsknings institut, nina etc.

   Taretråling started in september of 2012 at Hustadvika – shortly afterwards we noticed that all the cod livers inshore had turned black or looked as if they were bruised.  The livers were also severly reduced in size having a weak jelly like appearance

Severly damaged liver from a cod caught at hustadvika

Severly damaged liver from a cod caught at hustadvika

Later we noticed other specis had similar – but they were all inshore, futher out the livers were normal.  We contacted the mattilsynet  – they told us this was normal but could not tell us why. They also refused our offer of liver samples.

Later we also wrote to the havsforsknings institut but recieved no reply. 

    Many of the papers we have read talk about fish livers being the first sign that there is something wrong with the environment.

  We asked the mattilsynet if the livers were poisonous as many people here liked to eat them – in reply we got a articlesaying that you should not eat cod livers at all as many were too polluted

      this led to a further article mentioning over 30 places on the coast of Norway  that are so polluted that nothing from the sea should be eaten


If this is the case then we should be looking to seaweed to clean up this mess

      The Norwegian coast has a large number of wrecks containing everything from Mustard gas to high explosive – clear documented evidence shows that many specis of seaweed remove tnt and other substances from the seas.  Many Marine biologists point out that seaweed is the liver and lungs of the sea.

Chemical weapons dumped on the norwegian coast

my little piece.

      I had originally asked to present a 10 minute video on taretråling and some rather surprising effects such as the Thiamine issue and the Iodine release, instead i felt very angry – i felt i needed to clear up some issues which were quite apparent, so instead i presented some papers id downloaded.

I mentioned iodine being used as a weapon by seaweed, the same as terrestial plants


– i mentioned a paper i had on terrestial plants actually having such a effective chemical weapon that it has been observed killing large numbers of animals


– i mentioned another on seaweed killing coral


and yet another the mechanism of iodine being released by seaweed – then i asked if anyone present, in particular the marine biologists knew anything about this – there was a resounding no – i then asked if anyone wanted the papers waving them in the air – again a resounding no.


I mentioned Lennert Balks work on thiamine deciciency and how it is possible that this is the cause of major seabird die offs in the baltic and north of europe,


i said i had a film of a bird displaying the symptoms mentioned in the papers, i said i had sent an email to Laurentzen and the havsforsknings institut on both suhbjects but recieved no reply.  i then asked those present if anyone knew about this and again a resounding no – i then asked if anyone wanted to read the papers and was met by the same result.


I then mentioned a paper talking about the state of our seas and how 500 people had died in a cholera outbreak in chile peru and bolivia due to marine enrichment –

the paper was from the lancet the oldest medical journal in the world – would anyone like this paper – the result was as expected – i then said all this information and more is on our website                                         – my point had been made.  In all around 2 minutes.

There was a little dinner afterwards in the miljødirektoratet – one of my fellow guests asked a marine biologist who had been doing statistics on fish populations after and before taretråling, if he could have a copy of his raw data – it was explained that this was difficult as there was so much – no problem came the reply, i can let you have memory sticks – it is public material isnt it?  the reply was yes of course it was – “then that should be no problem”  – “ahh, but it is gigabites of material” replied the marine biologist – “no problem, just let me have it – i can even let you have a hard disc.”  the marine biologist was not happy with this and walked away – my fellow guest said “i am not surprised.”

This was the tone for the whole meeting – the concerns of the public are not being met in any way, and when they are there is likely to be some twist.

Here is a snip from a paper on the Fukoshima accident – before the accident it was not a problem and the state was happy to let it drift – but one cannot say the same now – and it is happening here

Corrupt environmental agencies   To think that this article mentions global warming, acidification of the seas and more and yet there is no mention at all of one of the worlds biggest industries removing seaweed forests on a global scale – we know seaweed binds something like 30 million tons of co2, the stuff on the norwegian coast over 100,000 tons of nitrogen per year – dangerous chemicals are removed from the environment and yet there is no mention anywhere – this is truly bizarre.






Final day of the Trondheim seaweed harvesting Meeting.

Terje Halsteinsen

Terje Halsteinsen adj

gave a talk on the regulations and rules concerning taretrawlers – questions of electronic tracking and more.

Unfortunatly he stated that taretrawlers,that is the seaweed harvesting trawlers were treated in the same way as any fishing boat  with the same rights and priveleges, he went further to explain the law of first right, that is the law that says that the person who has established use over a long period of time has the first right.

He quoted from a outdated law, my collegue Johan put him right with a up to date copy of the regulations regarding fishing boats and fishing, it says that taretrawlers have the right to trawl regardless of first right.  The original law stated that no trawling is to be allowed within 1 nautical mile of any areas used for lobster, crab or any other kind of activity.  It is very strange that such a senior official should not know the current regulations.

It is also very sad that an American owned company (fmc biopolymers) should be able to walk all over Norwegian fishermans rights.  But that is apparently the case.

After this there was a talk by the miljødirektoratet stating a little of their history and what their job is and their affiliations




Followed by an interesting talk  from vikna kommune, Ivar Grindvik

Ivar grindvik adj


He mentioned major changes in the environment and how concerned everybody was particurly as the fisheries minister owns the biggest salmon farming business in the country – he mentioned that he felt that if the marine biologists were to work with local people it could be a very good combination – there have been big changes in the bird populations since the trawling started, but that could be due to other factors.  He went on to mention co2 and how seaweed binds this, how this was a big international issue  – and should be tackled at the local level –  “this is the job of us polititians. ”

Vikna concerns

he finished with “The rights of local people are being brushed aside for a monopoly.”


Martin Nilsen from Froya Kommune

Frøy Martin Nilsen

said that there was no great conflict in Froya with the taretrawlers but there had been some mention of crab fishermen and their equipment.  He then said that the picture was not clear over what happened to immature fish which lived in the seaweed forests once they had been cleared – this is something that needs research.

He also mentioned growing seaweed and how there are big possibilities and that there is a firm cultivating sugar kelp nearby.

Odd Inge Viken from Roan Fiskarlag spoke next

norges fiskelag Jan Henrik Sandberg

Reduced catch after seaweed harvesting

He said that after taretrawling pollock (lyr) had diminished hugely in numbers.  I do know that there have been appeals from Roan Kommune to the minister concerned and that there have been no results from the meeting.

here is a little snip from that document

Plea from Roan fiskelaget


Next to speak was Jan Henrik Sandberg from Norges fiskarlag


Jan Henrik Sandberg Norges fiskarlag

Said that Norges fiskarlag has always been sceptical about taretråling


N fiskarlag advises against taretråling


Feel that the trial harvesting of 30,000 tons in the lofoten areas has not been researched enough, a letter sent to the fiskeriedirektoratet went further and said this was not good administrative paractice.

Letter from Fiskarlag to the fiskeriedirektoratet.

Taretråling had been left out of the

Marine strategy plan for Trøndelag

Research strategy plan hav 21 research updates

And the regions marine development plan

Further there was not enough information on the sea urchin problem(there are a number of unanswered questions we have too), not enough known about the effects on immature fish, he also mentioned the decrease in pollock(lyr) numbers and quoted figures from fmcs own site to support this.

Still researching fish

This cartoon shows quite nicely how many view the research done on tretråling – it says theyve soon been harvesting for 50 years, fishermen were also out early and are not yet finished with research.

The next speaker was Ole Damm Kvilhaug rastoffchef at fmc biopolymer

odk giving talkODK talk headlines fmc


Said he felt this meeting was  more constructive than the previous meeting at Runde

which he felt had been confrontational.

He explained a bit about his background which included being a trawler skipper in the north sea,university in Tromsø, 12 years as a case handler for the fiskeriedirektoratet and 2 years with Rogaland county where he developed taretråling in  that area.

He then spoke about FMC and the history of taretråling on the norwegian coast.

After his talk Johan Breivik asked him about the illegal trawling at Hustadvika (the first and only proven case of illegal taretråling in Norway)   He explained it was a combination of poor maps etc He fully supported his men and said that they were good workmen and not out to do anything bad.  in fact shortly after the incident one of the skippers who trawled the bay retired.

Elin Stølen asked if they could remove the seaweed washed ashore after taretråling, Ole Damm explained they were not allowed to do this.

Eilin asking about taretråling

I asked him about fmc corporations record concerning the environment, i mentioned polluting the missippi river, and various other cases, i also mentioned the production of carborufan or furadan  and explained that it was having a devastating effect  on the wildlife in Africa, and after causing the death of over 1 million birds in the USA was banned there – i went on the mention the mining of lithium and explained that it is destroying permanently one of the most fragile ecosystems in the world – he explained he knew nothing of this.

Strange that such a senior executive should be so lacking in knowledge of the corporation he works for – its also interesting to note that he did not ask for any information from me on these matters,           but others did!


Trond Kjønnø  gave us a talk on the company he works for ALGEA.

Trond Kjønnø


The theme for the talk was “minimum environmental impact”  this is also on Algeas website.  the site also explains that this company is active in over 40 countries.

One very interesting fact that came out was that Algea thinks that harvesting from the wild is not such a good idea and wants to concentrate on cultivation –

Fremtiden dyrking  Algea

Double clicking will enlarge the image.

During questions he was asked by Torjan Bodvin if there had been any long term research done on the impact on this type of harvesting in the areas they were harvesting on the ecosystem . ( The type of harvesting algea does is clipping the fronds by machine – not removing the whole plant as in Taretråling.)

Trond explained that Algea had none.  But had done some research on birds in conjunction with researchers.  He was  asked if it could be called sustainable if they had no documentation – he replied it is sustainable for the seashore because we leave a good deal of the plant to grow again.

Torjan Bodvin

Asking about research

It was  interesting to see Torjans concern as he later said in an interview with NRK    that  that there were no big consequences from the current harvest in North trondelag.



































More at Trondheim

Einar Sande XX

Einar Sandes presentation was statistics on fish and seaweed catches


Jens Wathne spoke about tracking seaweed harvesting trawlers

Jens Wathne sporing



– there has been a great deal of contriversy about this with all kinds of accusations from environmental organisations and individuals but no one was able to present a good enough case until we filmed a trawler fishing illegally – in spite of a great deal of prevarication and attempts to get the case dropped we continued.  We finally got the case through after filming a policeman telling us how difficult it was to get a decent prosecution, that the maps were on paper and not in the trawlers – and that the trawlers used paper charts anyway so they could not be all that precise over their position.  Our video shows 4 landmarks in line and the trawler on the wrong side with his gear out.  It is immensly difficult to position a ship from land accuratly.   From the west coast – Trondheim – southwards the coast is divided up ito harvesting areas.  Each is allowed to be harvested for 1 year then it must be allowed to recover and harvesting begins again in 4.  Our prosecution (the first in Norway) took nearly 2 years.

The picture underneath is of Ole Damm Kvilhaug announcing tracking of all taretrawlers at the meeting.  Essentially he said he was very happy that this has come about as it will stop a good deal of speculation and trouble.,d.bGE

Ole dam kvilhaug announcing sporing.

Unfortunatly it is not the ais system we had hoped for and is completely under the control of the fiskeriedirektoratet and the taretrawling skippers themselves with no public oversight.


the day was finished off with a remarkable tasting of various seafood preparations made with seaweed – by the cooks at Stokke Sjøsenter.  While this in no way excuses the mass seaweed harvesting currently ongoing on coasts worldwide it is clear that this is excellent food.





more talks at the Trondheim meeting

This lecture was Presented by Nils T. Hagen

What i found most interesting was the mechanism of the natural control of sea urchins, it appears there there are several, and that they are functioning. The main mechanism is by a nematode worm. We tried to find out information about this from Theirry Chopin in Canada (who is one of the worlds experts on seaweed  ) 2 years ago, but got nowhere –

we still have a lot of unanswered questions about the mechanisms involved, it is clear they wont be answered in the present climate. One rather worrying feature of this problem is the experimental use of quicklime to control the predation – worrying because it might negatively effect the predacious (parasitic) nematode population – we understand there is also a predacious gastropod and that might be effected  – but then this is not our job, we have professionals for that.

There were no clear answers  –  did manage to find out that it has not happened because of taretråling (in some areas) and that nobody knows quite why however as the area(trondheim to lofoten) has only just recovered it seems dangerous to allow taretråling in the area.  There are reports which state that there is often a polulation explosion shortly after taretråling.

Nils T Hagen KråkebollerThis lecture was Presented by Nils T. Hagen

Much of the information presented at the meeting  was about the opening of harvesting north of Trondheim – this is a contentious issue as this large area has been the subject of a plague of Sea urchins for many years, in fact the devastation was so much that there was simply not enough seaweed to warrant harvesting until recently.

From a private discussion with a representative of the miljødirektoratet        they had presented no objections to opening this area for harvest as they have no negative information.  During our conversation it was clear that they had no information about my documents ( downloaded from the internet)  and  their contents in fact they were suprised, VERY.

What impact it would have had on their decision though is something else.   They were given a number of printouts.

Several times during the meeting i pointed out that this meeting was about tarehøsting in Norway – NOWHERE ELSE – there seemed to be no awareness at all of what is happening elsewhere  or even that our oceans are connected– of the negative consequences of harvesting in other lands – even little of the negative consequences of seaweed cultivating – there is an annual slick now  some 30,000 square kilometres in area in the yellow sea  due to a problem associated with cultivation.’s%20largest%20macroalgal%20bloom%20caused%20by%20expansion%20of%20seaweed%20aquaculture%20in%20China.pdf

Why is it important that Norway should think about the bigger picture?  Norway has the largest amount of Laminaria Hyperborea apparently in the world – as i mentioned at the meeting it removes approximatly 480 tons of nitrogen per 20 square kilometres (our marine biologists kept on pointing  out that there is over 50 million tons on the Norwegian coast – nearly 6,000 square kilometres – however no one at the meeting, in spite of frequent requests from many present – could tell us how they arrived at this figure)– harvesting it, disturbing it over such a wide area is going to have an effect – particurly as the gulf stream runs alongside the coast.  (how do i know this?? Sure you have to read quite a bit to find it, but its there allright)   That means that well over 100,000 tons of nitrogen are removed annualy from the sea by just our seaweed – worldwide seaweed binds over 30 million tons of co2


Svein Håkon Lorentsen presented more work on the negative impact of taretråling on skarv or cormorants SV lauritzen Birds – apparently it is considerable and it also effects the eggs there not being enough food – i have written to Mr Lorentsen concerning the Thiamine issue and sent links to the main document, but recieved no reply  Why Ornithologists are not very concerned about this report i dont know – feedback from Lennert Balk (main author of the Thiamine report)indicates this.