May 16th 2011

Friske midler til Mareano

Regjeringen foreslår i revidert nasjonalbudsjett en ekstrabevilgning på til sammen 44 millioner kroner til kartleggingsprogrammet MAREANO. - Svært gledelig, sier forsker Terje Thorsnes, som leder NGUs aktiviteter i programmet.

EXTRA FUNDS: The Norwegian government wants a rapid mapping of the new territoriesThe MAREANO program is a long-term cooperation between the Institute of Marine Research, the Geological Survey of Norway, and the Hydrographic Service.

Start-up in the Previously disputed areas in the Barents Sea

Most of the extra funds will be spent towards the start-up of multibeam bathymetric mapping of the previously disputed areas in the Barents Sea, where Norway and Russia finally reached a boundary agreement earlier this year.

- These are large areas, totaling 88 000 km2, with vulnerable natural habitats, and potentially valuable hydrocarbon resources. The area spans  about  1000 kilometers from the coast of Finnmark, and crosses particularly valuable and vulnerable areas associated with the polar front and the variable ice margin, explains Thorsnes. Follow-up mapping of geology and biology can start as soon as  2012, after processing the multibeam bathymetry data.

Mid Norwegian Shelf, Nordland VI, also prioritized

Mapping of the Nordland VI area is also being accelerated.

- It will be hectic, but we’ll shall manage, says Thorsnes. The work started in 2010, and the original plan was to complete the data acquisition in 2012. Now we will mobilize an extra vessel and redirect further manpower  to complete the mapping in 2011.

Nordland VI is an area with particularly valuable natural attributes including broad occurrences of cold water coral reefs associated with a large submarine slide along the shelf edge (the Røst Reef).

- We expect to find new coral reefs, and a lot of exciting geology, concludes TerjeThorsnes.