Regulations relating to harvesting of the fauna on Svalbard

The fauna shall be managed in such a manner that the natural productivity and diversity of species and their habitats are maintained, and Svalbard’s natural wilderness is protected for future generations. Controlled and limited harvesting may take place within this framework.

Implementing legislation: Adopted by the Ministry of the Environment (now the Ministry of Climate and Environment) on 24 June 2002 under sections 31 and 32 of the Act of 15 June 2001 No. 79 relating to the protection of the environment in Svalbard (Svalbard Environmental Protection Act).

Amendments: amended by the regulations of 24 June 2002 No. 1085, 28 July 2008 No. 922, 29 June 2012 No. 746, 12 May 2013 No. 469, 15 March 2013 No. 284, 20 December 2013 No. 1687, 19 December 2013 No. 1757.

Chapter I. Introductory provisions

Section 1. (purpose)

The fauna shall be managed in such a manner that the natural productivity and diversity of species and their habitats are maintained, and Svalbard’s natural wilderness is protected for future generations. Controlled and limited harvesting may take place within this framework.

Section 2. (scope)

These regulations govern the harvesting and collection of eggs and down of species of wild fauna, with the exception of saltwater fish and crustaceans, as well as marine mammals that do not show site fidelity in Svalbard.

Subject to the limitations imposed by international law, these regulations apply to the entire land area of Svalbard and its waters out to the territorial limit.

Section 3. (definitions)

For the purpose of these regulations, the following definitions apply:

a) permanent resident: a person who at the time of applying for a permit and during harvesting is validly entered in Svalbard’s population register;

b) harvesting: hunting, trapping and fishing;

c) fauna: single-celled animals, invertebrates and vertebrates that naturally occur in the wild in Svalbard;

d) marine mammals: all species of seals and whales that show site fidelity in Svalbard;

e) river systems: lakes, pools, rivers, tributaries, streams and canals. Freshwater lagoons are also considered to form part of river systems;

f)  anadromous salmonids: salmonid fish that migrate between the sea and freshwater and that are dependent on freshwater for reproduction, as well as eggs and fry of such fish. Escaped or released farmed salmonids that may migrate between the sea and freshwater are considered to be anadromous salmonids when they are living in a free state in the sea or a river system.

Section 4. (administrative authorities)

The administrative authorities under these regulations are the Ministry of Climate and Environment, the Norwegian Environment Agency and the Governor of Svalbard. For marine mammals, the administrative authorities under these regulations are the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, the Directorate of Fisheries and the Governor of Svalbard.

Chapter II. General provisions on harvesting and collection of the fauna

Section 5. (the principle of general protection)

All species of fauna, including their eggs, nests and lairs, are protected.

Harvesting and collection of eggs and down are only permitted in accordance with provisions laid down in or under these regulations. Harvesting must not significantly alter the composition and development of the stocks in question.

Section 6. (humane harvesting and collection techniques)

Harvesting and collection shall be carried out without inflicting unnecessary suffering on the fauna and without putting human life in danger or causing any risk of damage to property.

Section 7. (mammals and birds that may be harvested, Arctic char and other anadromous salmonids)

The following species may be hunted between the following dates:

Species

Hunting season

Arctic fox Alopex lagopus

1 November–15 March

Svalbard reindeer Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus

15 August–20 September

Svalbard ptarmigan Lagopus mutus hyperboreus

10 September–23 December

Pink-footed goose Anser brachyrhynchus

20 August–31 October

Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis

21 September–31 October

Black guillemot Cepphus grylle

1 September–31 October

Ringed seal Phocus hispida

1 February–20 March and 20 May–30   November

Bearded seal Erignathus barbatus

1 February–27 April and 5 June–30   November

Trapping of Arctic foxes is permitted in the period 1 November–15 March.

In accordance with section 5, the Governor may by regulations permit fishing for Arctic char and other anadromous salmonids in the sea or in specific river systems or areas of sea. If fishing is opened, an annual quota shall be set for each river system, and the regulations shall specify which types of fishing gear may be used and the open seasons for fishing.

Section 8. (collection of eggs and down)

The Governor may issue permits for the collection of down from eider ducks (Somateria mollisima), barnacle geese (Branta leucopsis) and pink-footed geese (Anser brachyrhynchus), and the collection of eggs from eider, glaucous gulls (Larus hyperboreus) and great black-backed gulls (L. marinus).

Section 8a. (experimental fisheries)

The Governor may carry out or issue permits for experimental fisheries for Arctic char and other anadromous salmonids in specific river systems for the purpose of knowledge generation. An experimental fishery must not significantly alter the composition and development of the stocks in question. Conditions shall be attached to permits.

Section 9. (hunting, trapping and fishing licences)

Harvesting may only be carried out by a person who holds a hunting, trapping or fishing licence. The licence indicates the species to which it applies and any quota limits, rules on gear types, and the dates between which and the areas where the person is entitled to hunt, trap or fish. The licence is personal and may not be transferred. The Governor may in special cases issue a licence to an association, society or the like in the name of its chair or head. In cases where a licence is issued to an association, society or the like, it may only be used by persons authorised by the chair or head.

A fee shall be paid for a licence if the Ministry has laid down a schedule of fees, cf. section 35. The Governor is responsible for issuing licences and collecting fees.

A hunting, trapping or fishing licence, and if relevant an authorisation in accordance with the first paragraph, shall be carried during harvesting activities, and the holder shall produce the licence or authorisation at the request of the Governor or the instance authorised by the Governor.

Section 10. (quotas and restrictions on hunting areas)

The Governor may by regulations lay down hunting and trapping quotas for individual species and specific areas, and may restrict harvesting in certain areas.

Quotas for Svalbard reindeer shall be set each year.

Section 11. (harvesting reserved for permanent residents)

Only permanent residents in Svalbard may hunt Svalbard reindeer, hunt or trap Arctic foxes and fish for Arctic char and other anadromous salmonids with gill nets, and these activities require special permits from the Governor. A permit may be included as part of a hunting, trapping or fishing licence, cf. section 9. A permit shall apply to a specific area and within specific dates. A permit is personal and may not be transferred, with the exception of the special cases mentioned in the first paragraph, fourth and fifth sentences, of section 9. The Governor may lay down conditions in individual permits, including the quantity that may be harvested and the techniques or equipment that may be used.

Hunting permits for Svalbard reindeer are to be allocated under the provisions of Chapter VIII.

Section 12. (duty to report)

Any person engaged in hunting or egg collection in Svalbard has a duty to report the results of these activities to the Governor not more than 10 days after the end of the period for which the hunting, trapping or fishing licence or permit is valid.

The Governor may in special cases set another time limit for reporting. In such cases, the time limit shall be stated in the licence. Reporting in accordance with this provision is a condition for issuing a hunting, trapping or fishing licence or permit. In the event of failure to report, the Governor may refuse to issue a similar licence or permit for the following season.

Section 13. (data for research and management purposes)

In order to obtain data for research and management purposes, the Governor may order any person engaged in hunting or collection to provide information on the catch or harvest. The Governor may issue orders that part or all of the catch or harvest is to be surrendered for scientific purposes. Depending on the extent of the orders, the Governor may decide whether compensation is to be provided.

Reporting in accordance with this provision is a condition for issuing a hunting, trapping or fishing licence or permit. In the event of failure to report, the Governor may refuse to issue a similar licence or permit for the following season.

Chapter III. Special conditions for hunting and trapping

Section 14. (age limit for hunting and trapping)

Any person who engages in hunting and trapping activities must be at least 16 years of age. For hunting Svalbard reindeer and marine mammals, the lower age limit is 18 years.

A person may for training purposes take part in hunting for Arctic foxes and game birds and in trapping from the beginning of the calendar year in which he or she reaches 14 years of age and up to the age of 16 years, provided that he or she:

a) has the permission of a parent or guardian, and

b) is properly supervised by a hunter who is at least 20 years of age. The supervisor must have been engaged in hunting and trapping activities for at least three seasons.

A person may for training purposes take part in hunting for Svalbard reindeer and marine mammals from the beginning of the calendar year in which he or she reaches 16 years of age and up to the age of 18 years, provided that the conditions set out in the second paragraph a) and b) are satisfied.

In addition, there are requirements to pass a hunting proficiency test, and for large game hunters to pass a shooting proficiency test.

Section 15. (requirement to pass a hunting proficiency test)

Any person who has reached 16 years of age and is not registered in the Norwegian Register of Hunters shall before taking part in hunting or trapping activities pass a hunting proficiency test in accordance with these regulations, the course curriculum and the instructions relating to the content of the hunting proficiency test and how it is to be carried out laid down by the Norwegian Environment Agency.

Persons who are permanently resident abroad need not take the hunting proficiency test if they can document that they satisfy the conditions for taking part in similar types of hunting in the country where they are resident.

Section 16. (requirement to pass a shooting proficiency test)

No person may take part in hunting for Svalbard reindeer or marine mammals without having passed a shooting proficiency test. The shooting proficiency test is valid for one year after it has been passed. A hunter may only hunt Svalbard reindeer and marine mammals with the weapon or weapons used during the test.

Persons who are permanently resident abroad need not take the shooting proficiency test if they can document that they satisfy the conditions for taking part in large game hunting in the country where they are resident.

Section 16a. (duty to label Arctic fox pelts)

The pelts of Arctic foxes hunted or trapped in Svalbard shall be labelled and registered in the central register established by the Norwegian Environment Agency. The Governor will carry out registration and microchip labelling. The microchip shall be attached in the nape of the pelt. In addition the pelt may be labelled with a visible label.

Chapter IV.  Further provisions relating to the hunting and shooting proficiency tests

Section 17. (age limit for the hunting proficiency test)

The hunting proficiency test may be taken from the beginning of the calendar year in which the candidate reaches the age of 14 years.

Persons under the age of 16 do not need to take the hunting proficiency test to take part in hunting and trapping activities for training purposes under section 14, second paragraph.

The Governor may on application permit persons over the age of 16 years to postpone taking the obligatory course for the hunting proficiency test for up to one year.

Section 18. (administration of the hunting proficiency test, fees and course fees)

The hunting proficiency test consists of an obligatory course and an online examination. Education associations and others may by agreement with the Norwegian Environment Agency arrange the obligatory course in accordance with the Act of 18 June 2009 No. 95 on adult education. The Governor holds online hunting proficiency examinations for persons who have completed the obligatory course in accordance with these regulations, the course curriculum and the instructions relating to the content of the hunting proficiency test how it is to be carried out laid down by the Norwegian Environment Agency.

The obligatory course shall comply with arrangements approved by the Norwegian Environment Agency. The course shall last for a total of 30 hours. The obligatory teaching shall be split between nine days. Persons under 18 years of age must have been granted an exemption under section 29 of the Firearms Act or have the permission of the person or persons who have parental responsibility to take part in the practical part of the course.

A person who wishes to take the hunting proficiency test shall pay a fee for the hunting proficiency examination if the Ministry has laid down a schedule of fees, cf. section 35. A person who does not pass the written examination may retake the hunting proficiency test once without paying an extra fee. The organiser may charge a fee for the obligatory course, such that the costs incurred in holding the course are covered.

Section 19. (new hunting proficiency test in the event that a person loses the right to engage in hunting and trapping)

The proficiency certificate is valid for an unlimited period. A person who loses the right to engage in hunting and trapping through a legally enforceable judgment must take a new hunting proficiency test to be registered as a hunter.

Section 20. (arrangements for the shooting proficiency test)

The candidate shall fire 30 obligatory shots at a target of his choice. After this, five shots shall be shot at an animal figure approved by the Norwegian Environment Agency with each of the rifles that are to be used during hunting, with the type of ammunition permitted for hunting Svalbard reindeer and marine mammals. All the shots at the animal figure must land within the specified target area.

The Governor is responsible for arranging for shooting tests to be held in Svalbard. The Governor will lay down further rules for how the tests are to be carried out, and may delegate the organisation of the test to clubs/associations/persons who are considered to be qualified for the purpose. The organiser must fill out certificates on the standard form laid down by the Norwegian Environment Agency after the shooting test has been taken and passed in accordance with these regulations.

Chapter V. Fishing

Section 21. (prohibition against the use of live bait)

It is not permitted to use live bait during fishing activities.

Section 22. (disinfection of fishing gear)

Fishing equipment and fishing gear that has been used outside Svalbard must be disinfected before it is used in Svalbard.

Section 23. (restrictions on fishing near the boundary between rivers and lakes or the sea)

In river systems, it is not permitted to set gill nets in lakes less than 200 m from the inlet or outlet of a lake. In the sea, fishing with gill nets is not permitted less than 200 m from the mouth of a river (boundary between the river and the sea). The Governor may by regulations extend the prohibition on gill netting beyond 200 m from a river mouth (boundary between the river and the sea).

The minimum permitted mesh size is 52 mm. The size of each gill net that is used must not exceed 25 m by 1.8 m. Nets shall be marked by a buoy carrying the owner’s name and address. The Governor may by regulations lay down various restrictions on the use of gear, including the number of nets and strings of nets.

In sea areas that have been opened for fishing, fishing with a rod and handline or other hand gear is not permitted less than 50 m from river mouths (boundary between the river and the sea). The Governor may by regulations extend the prohibition on using a rod and handline or other hand gear beyond 50 m from a river mouth (boundary between the river and the sea).

Section 23a. (management plan)

To promote management of Arctic char in Svalbard that will maintain the natural productivity and diversity of the species and its habitat, a management plan may be drawn up for a river system or fishing ground where this is considered to be appropriate. Management plans will be drawn up by the Governor with the assistance of users and research institutions. A management plan should include a survey of fish stocks in the area in question, the quantity of fish that may be harvested, and rules on fishing and the use of fishing gear. The Governor will determine the duration of a management plan.

Chapter VI. Hunting

Section 24. (prohibition against artificial light)

It is prohibited for the purpose of hunting to use:

a) artificial light;

b) any equipment that enhances light electronically.

Section 25. (prohibition against the use of motor vehicles and aircraft)

During hunting, it is prohibited:

a) to use aircraft or motor vehicles to localise or pursue fauna or to distract an animal’s attention from the hunter;

b) to fire shots from aircraft or motor vehicles.

Section 26. (restrictions on the use of motor boats)

The Governor may by regulations introduce prohibitions or restrictions on the use of motor boats for hunting particular species, in specified areas and/or during specific periods of time.

Section 27. (general requirements relating to firearms and ammunition)

Only firearms that use a powder charge may be used to kill species of fauna during hunting.

The use of spring-guns to kill species of fauna is prohibited.

The use of a shotgun designed to fire more than two rounds or a fully automatic rifle for hunting is prohibited. If a semi-automatic rifle is used, only two rounds are permitted in the magazine and one in the chamber. It is not permitted to use slugs for shotguns.

Section 28. (requirements relating to firearms and ammunition for individual species)

Game birds and Arctic fox

Both shotguns and rifles may be used for hunting game birds and Arctic foxes.

The minimum calibre of the ammunition used to hunt Svalbard ptarmigan must be 22 LR hollow-point. When hunting pink-footed geese and Arctic foxes using a rifle, the impact energy of the ammunition used must be t least 294 Joules (30 kg/m) at a range of 100 metres.

Svalbard reindeer and marine mammals

For hunting Svalbard reindeer and marine mammals, only rifles and hunting ammunition with expanding projectiles shall be used.

For ammunition with a bullet weight of between 9 and 10 grams, the impact energy must be at least 2700 Joules (275 kg/m) at a range of 100 metres.

For ammunition with a bullet weight of 10 grams or more, the impact energy must be at least 2200 Joules (225 kg/m) at a range of 100 metres.

Section 28a. (hunting marine mammals)

It is prohibited to shoot at seals that are in the water, with the exception of ringed seals in the period 16 August–30 November. This prohibition does not apply to dispatching seals that have been injured.

Section 28b. (humane harvesting and collection)

Anyone who during hunting or an attempt to kill an animal injures a Svalbard reindeer or seal has a duty to make every effort to kill the animal as quickly as possible. The person has a duty to ascertain whether or not an animal at which he has fired has been hit. When hunting reindeer, a hunter has a duty to search for a wounded animal until the end of the day when it was shot. If the animal is not found during the mandatory search period on the first day, the hunter shall inform the Governor or hunting inspection service. The Governor may require the hunter to take part in the continued search for the animal.

Chapter VII. Trapping

Section 29. (registration of trappers)

Any person intending to engage in trapping must before starting these activities register with the Governor and provide information on the type of trapping, its extent and the area where it is to be carried out.

Section 30. (permitted traps)

Arctic foxes may only be trapped using body-gripping traps and dead-fall traps.

Traps shall function in such a way and with such force that foxes are killed immediately.

The Governor may lay down special requirements for specifications for traps and for user skills before they are taken into use.

Section 31. (use of trapping equipment)

Any person engaged in trapping has a duty to organise these activities so that no other species than Arctic fox can be caught. Trapping equipment shall not be placed in areas where general public access will entail a risk to people and domestic animals.

Equipment shall be marked with the user’s name, address and if applicable, telephone number. As far as possible, the traps shall be inspected every week.

Chapter VIII. Permits to hunt Svalbard reindeer

Section 32. (allocation of hunting permits)

Applications for hunting permits for Svalbard reindeer shall be sent to the Governor on a special form. If the number of applications exceeds the overall quota that has been fixed, the Governor will determine how the annual allocation of permits is to take place to ensure that permits are allocated fairly among those entitled to apply. The Governor will lay down further rules on application deadlines and how permits are to be collected.

A person who is allocated a hunting permit for Svalbard reindeer shall pay a fee per animal if the Ministry has laid down a schedule of fees, see section 35.

Section 33. (hunting permits)

A hunting permit applies to a specified area, and will be issued for one of the following categories of animals: calves (up to six months), females/young males (female/male up to 18 months), or unspecified. Calves may be shot instead of older animals.

The permit shall be accompanied by a control card for each of the animals the hunter may kill. The text will be drawn up by the Governor, and the hunter is required to follow the printed instructions for the use of the card. An animal that has been killed, or its meat, shall be labelled with a correctly completed control card before transport from the killing site starts or when an animal is left in situ overnight.

Chapter IX. Final provisions

Section 34. (penal measures)

Any person who wilfully or negligently contravenes provisions laid down in or under these regulations is liable to fines or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding one year. If substantial environmental damage or a risk of such damage has been caused or if there are especially aggravating circumstances, a term of imprisonment not exceeding three years may be imposed.

An accomplice is liable to the same penalties.

Section 35 . (fees)

The Ministry may lay down a schedule of fees for hunting, trapping and fishing licences, for the allocation of hunting permits for Svalbard reindeer and for the hunting proficiency examination.

Section 36. (appeals)

Individual decisions made under these regulations may be appealed in accordance with the provisions of the Public Administration Act. The appeal should be addressed to the body that made the decision.

Section 37. (entry into force)

These regulations enter into force on 1 July 2002.

Read regulation at lovdata.no

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