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Home → January, 2011

Monthly Archives: January 2011 − News & Stories


No per­ma­nent rese­arch sta­ti­on in Bill­efjor­den

Skottehyt­te („Scot­tish hut“) in Bill­efjord has been used by Polish sci­en­tists for fiel­dwork regu­lar­ly sin­ce 1984. In 2008, the Sys­sel­man­nen has announ­ced not to give fur­ther per­mis­si­on for this kind of use; the rea­son being that the hut, which is owned by the hun­ting and fishing socie­ty in Lon­gye­ar­by­en, was so full with equip­ment that it could hard­ly be used by others any­mo­re.

The Poles have then app­lied for per­mis­si­on to estab­lish a new, per­ma­nent base near the old hut. The app­li­ca­ti­on was tur­ned down to pro­tect the wil­der­ness cha­rac­ter of the area and becau­se it is gene­ral poli­cy that sci­ence shall main­ly be car­ri­ed out from exis­ting infra­st­ruc­tu­re.
Poland is the only coun­try that has several rese­arch faci­li­ties out­side the sett­le­ments: the Horn­sund sta­ti­on, an out­lier 12 kilo­me­tres nor­thwest of it, the smal­ler sta­ti­on at Kaf­fiøy­ra (For­landsund) and a sum­mer-base in one of the his­to­ri­cal huts in Calypso­by­en (Recher­chefjord).

Skottehyt­ta, Bill­efjord

Source: Sval­bard­pos­ten

Rabies

On Janu­a­ry 05, a polar fox atta­cked the dogs of the wea­ther sta­ti­on on Hopen, the sou­the­as­tern­most island of the Spits­ber­gen group. Several dogs were bit­ten by the fox, befo­re it was kil­led.

Now it tur­ned out that the fox was infec­ted with rabies, a dise­a­se that is rare in Spits­ber­gen, but had been found befo­re (first time 1980, last time in 1999). Infec­tions, if not trea­ted medi­cal­ly, are in the end let­hal, also for humans. Dead foxes or drop­pings should not be touched; dead foxes should be repor­ted to the Sys­sel­man­nen so sam­ples can be taken.

Curious polar fox

Rabies

Quel­le: Mat­til­syn­et (Nor­we­gi­an aut­ho­ri­ty for food safe­ty)

Wreck of Petro­za­vodsk to be remo­ved

The Rus­si­an fishe­ry sup­port ves­sel Petro­za­vodsk ran aground on the sou­the­as­tern shore of Bjørnøya in May 2009. A recent report sta­tes that small amounts of envi­ron­men­tal toxins inclu­ding bro­mi­na­ted fla­me retar­d­ants, lead, cad­mi­um and others are still on board and can be traced in sea-bot­tom sedi­ment and mari­ne orga­nisms adja­cent to the wreck, alt­hough con­cen­tra­ti­ons are so far repor­ted not to be harm­ful to mari­ne life.

The wreck sits at the bot­tom of some of the lar­gest sea­b­ird colo­nies of the north Atlan­tic, which are strict­ly pro­hi­bi­ted by Nor­we­gi­an law. The Sys­sel­man­nen has now recom­men­ded that the ves­sel, which is alrea­dy bro­ken into two parts, should be remo­ved, ack­now­led­ging that this ope­ra­ti­on would be cos­t­ly and may its­elf lead to the release of envi­ron­ment­al­ly dan­ge­rous sub­s­tan­ces or invol­ved per­son­nel being put at risk.

The wreck of Petro­za­vodsk on the sou­the­as­tern coast of Bjørnøya, ear­ly July 2010

Wreck of Petrozavodsk to be removed

Quel­le: Sys­sel­man­nen

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