New course popular with fishery experts

16/01/2009 There has been a huge response to first course for fishery experts on seismic survey vessels. The course is organised by the NPD and the Directorate of Fisheries. 117 fishery experts have registered for the course.

In cooperation with the Directorate of Fisheries, the NPD is planning to conduct the courses in February and March 2009, possibly with a subsequent follow-up course. The first two courses, which will be arranged in Bergen (February) and Tromsø (March) are fully booked. Everyone on the Directorate of Fisheries’ lists of approved fishery experts have been invited.

“Interest in the course has exceeded all expectations. Fishery experts play a key role when a seismic vessel moves into areas where fishing activity is in progress,” says the NPD's Jan Stenløkk, who has participated in organizing this course.

He hopes and believes that capable and up-to-date fishery experts can contribute to improving coexistence between fishery activities and seismic acquisition activities.

Due to the strong interest, the three-day course will be held several times and in several towns, e.g. Bergen, Ålesund and Tromsø. It may still be necessary to limit the number of participants at some of the courses and course locations. This year the NPD will cover all expenses for the actual course, while each participant must book and pay for travel and accommodation at the course location.

Seismic acquisition on the Norwegian shelf has attracted more attention and led to an increasing degree of conflict over the last few years, not least due to a higher activity level in the petroleum sector. To improve relations between the fisheries and the seismic activities, a joint working group from the Directorate of Fisheries and the NDP has proposed a number of measures, one of which is an obligatory course for fishery experts who are to work on board seismic vessels.

Fisheries people have been asking for such a course for some time. It will give a better understanding of the role of the fishery expert, explain the regulations and train the participants in communication and conflict handling.

It has been proposed that the obligatory course requirement should be included in the Resource Management Regulations, the change is scheduled to enter into force on 1 June 2009. After this date everyone will need to have completed such a course before they are approved for work as fishery experts on board a seismic vessel. The current requirements for fisheries competence and experience will continue to apply and are a condition for participation in the course.

On the basis of the requirements posed to a fishery expert, the course participants are expected to have a good command of basic English and technical terminology. All participants will therefore be given a brief language test. The course will be concluded with a knowledge test, and participants must pass both tests in order to have the course accredited to them.

The course will include the following topics:

  • Relevant government bodies and the oil companies’ and service companies’ relationship to the authorities
  • Geophysical and geological methods and equipment
  • The statutory requirements (relevant laws and regulations, including interpretations and discussions concerning this), the manual for fishery experts
  • The government process relating to seismic acquisition
  • Information from the Coast Guard – their role at sea
  • The role of the fishery expert(authority, adviser, duties, conflict handling – group work and discussion)
  • Effects on fish and fishing during seismic acquisition
  • Reporting requirements for the fishery expert
  • Language test and final knowledge test

Bjørn Nornes

Bjørn Nornes, who was the first fishery expert on a seimic vessel on the NCS, is pleased that the NPD and the fisheries directorate have developed courses. There’s a big need for training, he said in an interview given to the magazine Norwegian Continental Shelf in 2008. (Picture: Emile Ashley)


Read more about fishery experts on seismic vessels here: Specialist in conflict resolution

For further information, please contact the Directorates on tel. +47 5187 6000 (Aase Moe, NPD) or +47 800 31 179 (Gjermund Langedal, Directorate of Fisheries).


Updated: 04/09/2009