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29/08/2008 This summer, the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate (NPD) has acquired seismic data in the areas outside of Lofoten and Vesterålen. This acquisition of seismic data is in line with the regulations and takes place in accordance with a resolution by the Storting (Norwegian Parliament).
Subsequent to the seismic data acquisition, the environmental foundation Bellona filed charges against the NPD for violation of the Pollution Act. Bellona has also written about these charges in several Norwegian newspapers.
The NPD follows the applicable regulations, and was assigned this task by the Storting last spring. This took place in connection with consideration of Storting White Paper No. 8 (Comprehensive Management of the Marine Environment in the Barents Sea and the Waters off Lofoten – the Comprehensive Management Plan). This was followed up through the fiscal budget for 2007, in which approximately NOK 70 million was allocated for this purpose.
The collection period was selected following consultations with the Directorate of Fisheries, the Institute of Marine Research and fishermen's organisations. Of primary importance for all parties was to find a period when the seismic data acquisition did not coincide with spawning periods, and generally caused the least possible inconvenience for the fisheries.
The Storting has assigned the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate the task of acquiring seismic data in the waters off Lofoten and Vesterålen (Nordland VII and Troms II) to increase knowledge about potential petroleum resources.
The acqusition of seismic data causes noise which are subject to the Pollution Act, but the activity is not considered to cause any damage or disadvantage to the environment worth mentioning. Therefore, the Norwegian Pollution Control Authority does not regulate seismic activities in separate permits.