Both groups have written to the Minister of Petroleum and Energy in consultation with the Minister of Fisheries and Seafood asking to stop PGS’s seismic survey PGS20005 and that this is postponed until the herring fishing is complete. This past week, seismic surveying has taken place in the middle of the North Sea herring field.
Head of Norwegian Fisheries Council Kjell Ingebrigtsen is in dialogue with the two ministers on the current situation. He describes the case as an example of how coexistence on the Norwegian continental shelf should not be.
“We are working for good co-existence and hope for clarification from the ministers as soon as possible. We fishermen depend on getting the fish when it is in that area. If some fish move out of the area, this can reduce the possibility of reaping the values that this fish represents,” says Ingebrigtsen.
This is the case
It is in a letter to the ministries that the Norwegian Fisheries Association, in collaboration with the Fishing Boat, refers to the ongoing situation in the North Sea where PGS conducts its seismic survey PGS20005 in the same area where a very active herring fishing is ongoing. In a letter to the ministries, reference is made to the ongoing situation in the North Sea where PGS conducts its seismic survey PGS20005 in the same area where a very active herring fishing is being conducted.
On Monday, June 1, a conflict arose between PGS’s seismic vessel Ramford Vanguard and several fishing boats in the area. Ramford Vanguard went straight through the fishing field where there were fishermen in active fishing. The seismic vessel pushed forward, and two vessels that were to throw had to move in order to avoid collision. Among other things, the fishing boat member and skipper of the ring net vessel Røttingøy from Os in Hordaland responded and made contact with the seismic vessel.
The letter states that this is clearly contrary to the Marine Resources Act and the Petroleum Act’s Resource Regulations, and also the Directorate of Fisheries has written a letter to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate on this incident asking the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate to record the incident with the company and give them feedback.
Contact with PGS
Norges Fiskarlag sent the following e-mail to PGS on 3 June. where we requested that the above investigation be stopped:
“Refers to correspondence on the above survey on Monday, June 1st. Because of the evolution of herring fishing, and the potential for conflict with herring, we demanded that PGS immediately postpone the ongoing investigation (initially until July 15th) Ramford Vanguard is now staying in the northeastern part of the area, But the fishermen are all over the area and need a large area in the herring fishing that has really hit the field this year.
In addition to this, we are very concerned that the shooting scares the herring away from the field. PGS has known all along the potential for conflict that seismic shooting in this area may conflict with fishing for herring in this area and during this period, and that was just before the investigation was advised by the Directorate of Fisheries when it was reported. The fishery team also demanded, in a meeting before start-up, that the investigation should be halted in the event of conflict with the herring fishing in the area.
Unfortunately, we have reached this point now, and we expect our request to be accepted. Herring fishing is a very important fishery in the North Sea, and it is important that fishermen get the share they need in the NOZ (in this area) when the fish are there. In addition to this, we recently received feedback from members of us that Ramford Vanguard went right through the fishing field where there were fishermen in active fishing. This is clearly contrary to the Marine Resources Act and the Resources Regulations. Fishing boat got a picture of a skipper on Røttingøy on Sunday 1st June.
The skipper had to give a clear message that there would be a conflict if Ramford Vanguard continued his course. The fishery was not considered. The picture shows how the seismic vessel is pushing forward. Two vessels that were to throw had to move to avoid collision. This is not how we should have it on the fishing fields, and we ask that PGS give us feedback on whether this is a behaviour the company can hold. This is also contrary to the regulations, and we expect the authorities to follow up on such behavior. The fishery team cannot accept that such behavior on the field should be the norm, and will follow up this matter closely in the future.”
The Directorate of Fisheries has also written a letter to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate of 3 June. where they request that the ongoing investigation be canceled immediately.
Concerned about fishing
In addition to what is mentioned above, the Norwegian Fisheries Association is very concerned that Norwegian fishermen will be prevented from fishing what they can by the North Sea herring quota in the NØS (Norwegian Economic Zone).
In this connection, we point out that the Norwegian Sea Herring Fleet is seriously engaged in the activity for this season. 28 boats, of which 17purse-seiners and 11 from the coast had an entry of 11,600 tonnes last week. Both Norwegian and Danish auctions are active and this week good pressure is expected in fishing and the fleet depends on good conditions in the Norwegian zone. Participation in fishing for herring is expected to increase over time.
If the fishery is hindered by weather, seismic etc. while the fish are in the NØS, Norwegian fishermen must fish a larger proportion of the quota in the NØS. This may have an impact on quota negotiations in the form of documentation on how much of the fish we fish in the NOIS and quota shares, access to the EU zone, the English zone, etc. In the long term, such a situation could cause Norway to have a worse negotiating situation and that Norway’s share of the total quota for North Sea herring is reduced.
The Norwegian Fisheries Association cannot accept that there is a great risk that the herring fishing in the North Sea in the NØS will be prevented by the above seismic survey, and we ask that the Minister of Petroleum and Energy and the Minister of Fisheries take action and instruct that this study must be postponed in line with requirements from the Norwegian Fisheries Association and at the request of the Directorate of Fisheries.