Category: Facts & findings

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.

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.


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.


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.