After a long and rather controversial discussion, Norwegian authorities have decided to declare 8 historical sites in the Spitsbergen archipelago off limits, starting 01 January 2010.
The sites are:
- Ebeltofthamna (Krossfjord): The remains of the whaling station south of the lagoon.
- Likneset (Smeerenburgfjord): Spitsbergen’s largest graveyard from the whaling period.
- Ytre Norskøya: the graveyard and the blubber ovn foudations near the south coast. The rest of the island remains accessible.
- Haudegen (Rijpfjord, Nordaustland): The WWII weather station and a safety zone around it may not be intered.
- Habenichtbukta (Edgeøya): The combined Whaling/Pomor site
- Zieglerøya, Delitschøya, Spekkholmen (near Edgeøya): These small islands with their many historical sites will be completely off limits.
- Halvmåneøya (near Edgeøya): Only the famous old trapper station Bjørneborg can be visited, the rest of the island is off limits.
- Midterhukhamna (Bellsund): No access to the small hut (built in 1898) and the near-by remains of the 17th century whaling station.
For more details such as a map of the sites, see, Sysselmannen.
It has also been decided to ban the use of heavy (crude) oil in the three largest National Parks in Spitsbergen. Heavy oil is a common fuel type for large ships, but is very dangerous for the environment in case of accidents.
As exceptions, it can still be used until 01 January 2015 on the shortest safe routes to Sveagruva, Ny Ålesund and into Magdalenefjord.
A similar ban is in force since 2007 in the large Nature Reserves in eastern parts of the archipelago.
This part of the new regulations is welcomed by conservation groups.
Tourists carefully visit a whaler’s grave from the 17th century at Likneset in northwestern Spitsbergen.
This will not be possible anymore in the future, starting 01 January 2010.