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Norwegian paradise in danger as government secretly decides on oil drilling plans

21 November 2003

Oslo, Norway/Gland, Switzerland - WWF, the conservation organization, is appalled that the Norwegian government might allow oil companies like Shell, Statoil and Norske Hydro to drill for oil around the Lofoten Islands in arctic Norway, one of Europe’s natural paradises. The decision is due to be taken in secret, on an undisclosed date in early December.

Credit © WWF / Stephan Lutter

Fishing community Henningsvær in Lofoten, Northern Norway. Credit © WWF / Stephan Lutter

Credit © WWF / Stephan Lutter
Credit © WWF / Stephan Lutter

Moskenes, the southern tip of Lofoton main islands, with a view towards Værøy and Røst across the famous "maelstrom". Credit © WWF / Stephan Lutter

According to WWF, the Norwegian government is on the verge of ignoring the wishes of its own scientists, who believe the direct impact of oil development – from seismic survey work, which can disturb fish and whales, to the devastation caused by an oil spill – would be disastrous for sensitive marine environments such as those of the Lofoten Islands. The area is home to the world's largest cod and herring stocks, shoals of sperm whales and killer whales, some of the largest sea bird colonies in Europe, including puffin and cormorant, and the world’s biggest cold water coral reef, which was only discovered last year.

The island community is almost entirely dependent on fishing and tourism for survival. Both activities would be threatened by the proposed oil development, against which WWF is campaigning. The conservation organization wants the islands to become a no-go zone for the oil industry. More...

WWF Norway

Breaking news: Norway decides to put Lofoten nature before oil.