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Norway’s oil industry is not fishing for tourists
Posted on: 04 Feb 2013  |   Tags: Norway Economy , Norway Fishing Sector , Norway Tourism ,

Norway’s coast has always been important for the country, providing food for a large share of the population. The Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja area, with its extraordinarily narrow continental shelf, is the spawning place for the largest stock of cod in the world. Opulentus NorwayFish from this area is one of the largest export products in Norway. The area is gaining increasing popularity as a tourist destination with its coastal mountains, both for Norwegian and international tourists. Combined, about 6,500 people are employed in the tourist and fishing industries in Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja. Our coastline has also provided us with enough petroleum resources to make us one of the richest countries per capita in the world since the first oil find in 1969. And as the oldest fields are emptied and the technology is improving, the oil industry moves further and further north. The Lofoten, Vesterålen and Senja areas are becoming an obvious next step forward. Nonetheless, as the Continental Shelf is so narrow, opponents argue, installations will have to conflict the fisheries. They will be seen from the shore, making it harder to sell the tourist image of these areas as untouched pieces of Norwegian wilderness. New research also shows that the oil would have dramatic impact on the vulnerable ecosystems in the area in the case of an oil spill, reaching shore in less than 24 hours. At the same time as the oil industry is pushing for new fields to explore, other industries are complaining that they are not able to get engineers. We are seeing a local “brain drain”, where the best engineers choose the higher salaries in the petroleum sector, salaries that industries like the aluminum and renewable energy industries are not able to match. This is also the case in the North of Norway, where there has been a massive growth in renewable energy technology development the last years. We know that three quarters of the petroleum that is already found globally has to stay in the ground if we are to achieve the target of no more global warming than two degrees - an international target that Norway has been in the forefront of working for. There is no need to go explore for more oil in pristine areas with unknown amounts of oil if we are to take this fact seriously. Until now, oil extraction from the Norwegian shelf has increased every year. The population of Norway is facing a difficult choice as this is slowly changing. Should we choose to continue being a petroleum exporting country until the last drop of oil is sold, risking the loss of smaller sectors like the fishing and tourism industry? Or should we leave this petroleum in the ground for later generations and rather diversify our economy and make the best out of our fishing, energy and tourism resources? Source: http://theforeigner.no/pages/columns/norways-oil-industry-is-not-fishing-for-tourists/

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