Report No. 37 to the Storting (2008-2009)

Integrated Management of the Marine Environment of the Norwegian Sea— Report No. 37 (2008 – 2009) to the Storting

To table of content

11 Economic and administrative consequences

The present white paper contains proposals for new working methods, processes for reviewing the current use of instruments in the various sectors, and specific measures. It also indicates topics to be reviewed at a later date. The economic and administrative consequences of the various proposals can be predicted with varying degrees of accuracy, but as the proposals are implemented the consequences for public and private actors will be assessed in the usual way as set out in the Instructions for official studies and reports and the preparation of legislation. The measures outlined in the management plan that will require increased budgets or allocations will be considered by the Government in the ordinary budgetary processes and presented in the budget propositions of the ministries concerned. The Government will evaluate the measures in the management plan in relation to other priorities. Follow-up and implementation of measures in the years to come will therefore depend on economic developments and the budget situation. The following is a preliminary assessment of the economic and administrative consequences of the proposals put forward in this white paper.

11.1 Assessment of measures for integrated ecosystem-based management

Implementation of the management plan

An expert group will be appointed to follow up the implementation of the management plan for the Norwegian Sea (the Forum for Integrated Management of the Norwegian Sea). The terms of reference of the Advisory Group on Monitoring of the Barents Sea and the Forum on Environmental Risk Management will be expanded to include the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea. This will improve the coordination and provide a better foundation for management of the Norwegian Sea. It will also involve more work for the directorates and institutes concerned. In addition, the terms of reference of the Reference Group established for the Barents Sea–Lofoten area are to be expanded to include the Norwegian Sea and the North Sea, which will also involve more work. The volume of work for these groups will vary over time, but will always be larger in connection with the scheduled reports. These efforts will be part of the established administrative framework and a continuation of existing activity. Thus the additional work is not expected to have financial consequences of any significance.

Integrated monitoring system for the Norwegian Sea

The costs relating to the development of a system for monitoring the state of the ecosystem in the Norwegian Sea, based on the integrated monitoring system for the Barents Sea–Lofoten area, will be studied in more detail in connection with the annual budget proposals. A great deal of the work of developing the monitoring system will take place within the framework of the research and monitoring already being conducted in the management plan area. Since it will be necessary to monitor a larger number of indicators across a larger geographical area, more funding will be required, and this question will be reviewed in connection with the annual budget proposals.


The Government will seek to systematise and improve knowledge about the Norwegian Sea by continuing the MAREANO programme. Areas that provide particularly valuable ecological goods and services, or where such goods and services are particularly vulnerable, will be identified and mapped. Surveys of the seabed will be necessary in order to develop cost-effective tools that will ensure the sustainable use of such areas.

Conducting surveys properly is expensive. The MAREANO programme in the Barents Sea–Lofoten area is costing NOK 51.5 million in 2009. The Government will consider the annual allocations for continuation of the programme in connection with the annual budget proposals.

The Government will continue the SEAPOP programme in the Norwegian Sea, and the costs relating to continuing the programme at the current level of activity will be met within the existing budget framework.

Climate change and ocean acidification – knowledge development

More funding will be required to meet the Government’s goal of improving knowledge on climate change and ocean acidification. The Government will consider the allocations for knowledge development in connection with the annual budget proposals.

Protection of coral reefs and other habitats

Corals require special protection since they form vulnerable habitats and are important components of ecosystems. This makes it necessary to restrict bottom trawling, which can damage vulnerable habitats on the seabed. Protecting coral reefs will be profitable in the long term because it will protect areas that are important for marine biodiversity and as spawning and nursery areas for commercial fish stocks.

Restricting bottom trawling in areas that have not previously been trawled until seabed surveys have been carried out may have economic consequences for the fisheries, since fishermen will be unable to operate freely in all areas when using trawls and other bottom gear. It is difficult to calculate or estimate the costs of imposing restrictions on bottom trawling in such areas, but it is likely that there will be a temporary loss of income for fisheries using these specific areas. However, such losses could probably be compensated by fishing in other areas.

Framework for petroleum activities

A framework for petroleum activities in particularly valuable and vulnerable areas has been proposed, including spatial restrictions on activities up to 2014, when the management plan will be updated. In some parts of the management plan area, restrictions on when drilling is permitted have been introduced to take account of vulnerable natural resources such as spawning fish or nesting seabirds. The proposal is based on a precautionary approach to protection of areas of particular ecological importance.

The proposed framework could result in loss of revenues from petroleum activities, since any resources present cannot be extracted from areas where no activities are to be started. However, since the resource potential of the areas concerned is not known, it is extremely difficult to estimate the extent of such losses.

Discharges to the sea from petroleum activities

On the basis of a report submitted by the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority, the Petroleum Directorate and the Norwegian Radiation Protection Authority that evaluated the environmental and social costs and benefits of zero discharges, the Government will not introduce general requirements for zero discharges of produced water and/or drill cuttings and drilling mud, but will include technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive materials (TENORM) in the zero-discharge targets. In areas where the benthic fauna is vulnerable or that are key spawning areas for bottom-spawning fish, operators will be required to use technology for dealing with drill cuttings and drilling mud that will prevent sediment deposition. Requirements concerning releases may be revised as new information and more advanced technology become available. Adaptations to new requirements will increase costs to an extent that will vary from field to field.

Prevention of acute pollution from maritime transport

Implementing the measures proposed in the management plan will offset the higher risk of acute pollution represented by the increase in maritime traffic in the management plan area. This will reduce environmental risks and on-scene clean-up costs, and will safeguard Norway’s reputation as a supplier of safe seafood.

The costs of several of these measures will be mainly related to personnel resources in ministries and subordinate agencies. Training courses, exercises, technological development, international cooperation and following up the report on governmental oil spill response equipment (current status and recommendations for renewal and upgrade up to 2010) will involve additional costs. The Government will consider allocations for this purpose in connection with the annual budget proposals.

Costs will be incurred in connection with the introduction of routeing and traffic separation schemes. Such schemes may also result in higher costs for the shipping and other industries if ships have to follow a longer route along the Norwegian coast.

11.2 Administrative consequences

A number of the measures proposed in this management plan will call for closer cooperation between agencies, but no changes will be made in the formal organisational structure. The measures will also call for closer coordination between research and management.

The remaining measures are not expected to have administrative consequences of any significance.

To front page