Friday, September 16, 2011

Seafood or oil?

Dock in the Lofoten Islands
While seafood is the second largest contributor to Norway's exports, oil and gas is the first, constituting well over 50% of the value of exports for the country. Oil and gas have been the biggest drivers in the Norwegian economy the past few decades are are responsible for the country's high standard of living. These resources are largely located offshore and compete for space with both wild fisheries and aquaculture.

However, in recent years the existing wells have become depleted and there has been growing pressure to open new areas to exploitation. One of the areas of interest by the oil and gas industry is near the Lofoten Islands. These islands are an important nursery area for seafood stocks, including cod and to some extent herring, two of largest populations in the world (according to biomass). While seafood is a key industry for the country, especially in rural areas in the north of Norway, such as the Lofoten Islands, it is difficult for it to compete against the oil and gas industry which is the primary economic driver for the country.

The future of the Lofoten Islands and its picturesque landscape remains uncertain.

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