Category: Facts & findings

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

 

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.

http://www.imr.no/filarkiv/2014/04/hi-rapp_7-2014_komif_til_web.pdf/nb-no
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

 

http://karmoynytt.no/2014/10/17/investerer-500-millioner-kroner-tare-og-alginat/#comment-70635

 

 

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.

http://www.niva.no/

 

Here is the paper concerned

http://rapp.niva.no/symfoni/RappArkiv4.nsf/URL/C125730900460902C125715600290425/$FILE/5150_200dpi.pdf

 

Front page

Front page of report.click 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.

http://www.hel.no/ipub/

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.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

http://www.nrk.no/mr/stenger-for-taretraling-1.12026051

 

 

headlines

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)     http://stopptt.com/final-day-of-the-trondheim-seaweed-harvesting-meeting/

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)

 

 

 

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 –

http://www.nrk.no/nordland/bekymret-for-surere-hav-1.11980978

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 harvesting.click 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.

 

 

More on Trawling.

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

havsforsknings institut tråling  click on image for full size

http://www.imr.no/temasider/redskap_og_teknologi/tral/bunntral/bunntraling/miljoeffektar_av_botntraling/nb-no   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

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749112003284%20%20%20This%20is%20a%20report%20on%20just%20this.

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

http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=7751&src=ve

The re suspension of sediments means the release of chemicals back into nature

http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0269749112003284   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.

http://www.nrk.no/nordland/stenger-omrade-for-blakveitefiske-1.8139255

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

http://www.dagbladet.no/2009/05/07/nyheter/miljo/krill/antarktis/hav/6102884/

 

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.    http://www.fiskeridir.no/om-oss/telefon-og-e-post-til-ansatte/ressursavdelingen/reguleringsseksjonen/terje-halsteinsen

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.