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Home* News and Stories → East Sval­bard Natu­re Reser­ves: new regu­la­ti­ons in for­ce on 01 May 2014

East Sval­bard Natu­re Reser­ves: new regu­la­ti­ons in for­ce on 01 May 2014

The high­ly con­tro­ver­si­al pro­cess of new regu­la­ti­ons in the lar­ge natu­re reser­ves in East Sval­bard is now lar­ge­ly com­ing to an end: the new law is com­ing in for­ce on 01st May 2014. The quar­rel has been open and part­ly hea­ted sin­ce at least 2007.

The result is lar­ge­ly fol­lowing the Sysselmannen’s pro­po­sal from Janu­a­ry 2013. It remains, in the eyes of the pre­sent aut­hor, valid and true that the exper­ti­se behind the new regu­la­ti­ons is, in lar­ge parts, weak or not exis­tent. Nevertheless, most of tho­se tra­ve­ling the are­as in ques­ti­on should at least lar­ge­ly find them­sel­ves able to get used to the new situa­ti­on (and if not, they will have to, any­way) without too drastic chan­ges. Regar­ding some poten­ti­al­ly important details, it remains to see how it will work in prac­ti­ce. This con­cerns access to the new, so-cal­led sci­en­ti­fic refe­rence are­as.

The important chan­ges are the fol­lowing (part­ly quo­ted from Spitsbergen-Svalbard.com news, Janu­a­ry 2013. Updated and added to as nee­ded).

Six part­ly new zones will be deter­mi­ned in the lar­ge Natu­re Reser­ves in East Sval­bard. Some of them are lar­ge, others restric­ted to sin­gle loca­ti­ons. Dif­fe­rent regu­la­ti­ons app­ly to the­se zones (see map below):

Zone A (yel­low): “Sci­en­ti­fic refe­rence are­as”. Anyo­ne who wants to tra­vel the­re needs to noti­fy the Sys­sel­man­nen at least 4 weeks in advan­ce. The Sys­sel­man­nen can requi­re chan­ges of plans or stop them altog­e­ther. The result could poten­ti­al­ly still come clo­se to a com­ple­te clo­sure of the are­as in ques­ti­on, which are lar­ge, alt­hough most­ly (but not com­ple­te­ly) irrele­vant for tou­rism. The sci­en­ti­fic need for and value of such refe­rence are­as remains very con­tro­ver­si­al, no solid argu­ments that sup­port such a need or value bey­ond gene­ral, rather dif­fu­se remarks of gene­ral pre­ven­ti­on, have been put for­ward. This did not keep DN and other inte­res­ted par­ties from decla­ring that such are­as were necessa­ry. By the way, an obli­ga­ti­on to app­ly for per­mis­si­on to tra­vel in the East Sval­bard Natu­re Reser­ves – which cover the pro­po­sed refe­rence are­as and far more – is alrea­dy in for­ce and has been so for many years. Time will have to show what the new regu­la­ti­ons will real­ly bring. Anything is pos­si­ble from a litt­le bit more paper­work befo­re the trip to a fac­tu­al clo­sure of lar­ge are­as.

Zone B (oran­ge): No admis­si­on bet­ween May 15 and August 15. This means in prac­ti­ce a clo­sure of parts of Lågøya and all of Tus­enøya­ne for most of the rele­vant sea­son. This is the only “detail” whe­re the map below needs to be updated: the clo­sed area does not inclu­de the who­le island, but the west coast and the nort­hern tip. The lat­ter is the only part of the island that is regu­lar­ly visi­ted by tou­rists. A simi­lar regu­la­ti­on is alrea­dy in for­ce for the bird reser­ves, but the­se are restric­ted to smal­ler are­as and loca­ti­ons, most­ly the actu­al bree­ding colo­nies on smal­ler islands, rather than lar­ger islands and who­le island groups.

Zone C (green dots): site-spe­ci­fic regu­la­ti­ons are to app­ly. This is a pro­ce­du­re which is get­ting incre­a­singly com­mon for polar tou­rism, for examp­le in Ant­arc­ti­ca. The site-spe­ci­fic rules are to be com­pi­led by the tou­rism indus­try (repre­sen­ted by AECO) under the Sysselmannen’s super­vi­si­on. A lot of work on the­se site-spe­ci­fic regu­la­ti­ons has alrea­dy been done. In the east Sval­bard natu­re reser­ves, the­re are 4 rele­vant loca­ti­ons: Polar­sta­r­od­den (Storøya), Andrée­ne­set and Kræ­mer­pyn­ten (Kvi­tøya), Doleritt­ne­set (“Kapp Lee”) and Andréet­an­gen (Edgeøya).

Zone D (red dots): smal­ler are­as around cul­tu­ral heri­ta­ge sites that are clo­sed com­ple­te­ly year round. In for­ce sin­ce 2010.

Zone E (red): This is Kong Karls Land. No admis­si­on around the year. Has alrea­dy been in for­ce sin­ce for many years.

Addi­tio­nal­ly, it has been deci­ded that ships sai­ling in the east Sval­bard natu­re reser­ves may not car­ry more than 200 pas­sen­gers. Grey water and toi­let waters may not be dischar­ged wit­hin 500 metres off shore and not at all in Rijpfjord, a site for long-term ocea­no­gra­phic stu­dies. Tog­e­ther with the ban on hea­vy fuel on board ships tra­ve­ling insi­de the natu­re reser­ves, which has alrea­dy been in for­ce for some time, the­se parts of the new regu­la­ti­ons make a lot of sen­se from a con­ser­va­ti­on per­spec­ti­ve.

Ost Svalbard Entwurf Sysselmannen_09 Januar 2013

This map is from the Sysselmannen’s pro­po­sal from Janu­a­ry 2013 and is used here for prac­ti­cal rea­sons. The only details that needs some updating is Lågøya, which is not com­ple­te­ly clo­sed (15 May-15 August), but only along the west coast and nort­hern tip (Purchas­ne­set), indi­ca­ted by the red line on the map. The offi­cial maps as enc­lo­sed with the new law text can be acces­sed in the Nor­we­gi­an online law libra­ry

Click here for a lar­ger ver­si­on of this map.

Source: Press release of the Nor­we­gi­an government: east Sval­bard Natu­re Reser­ves .

Here you can read the com­ple­te law (Nor­we­gi­an), inclu­ding maps.

By the way, my new book is in print and it can now be orde­red 🙂 it is a pho­to book with the tit­le “Nor­we­gens ark­ti­scher Nor­den (1): Spitz­ber­gen – vom Polar­licht bis zur Mit­ter­nachts­son­ne”, with Ger­man text Click here for fur­ther details!

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last modification: 2014-07-01 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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