For a creature of enormous proportions—the largest animal, in fact, in existence—the blue whale is surprisingly hard to spot.
Blue whales stretch up to 30 meters long and can weigh as much as 200 tons, but are rare near Norway. Years of hunting depleted the population until the International Whaling Corporation issued a protective order in 1966. Depending on species, the breed is most commonly found in the North Pacific Ocean.
Since the Norwegian Polar Institute began Marine Mammal Sightings Database in 2005—which prompts scientists and tourists to record whale sightings in and around Jan Mayen and Spitsbergen, where the whales sometimes wander—just 74 sightings of the whale have been recorded, with only a single whale recorded in some years.
But the in the last few years the Marine Mammal Sightings Database has recorded record numbers of blue whales—last year documenting several dozen whales over the course of the summer season, when whales who winter in the Atlantic commute North in search of krill and plankton.
Professional surveys have recorded 1,000 animals have been near Iceland, according to Nils Øien, a researcher at the Institute of Marine Research who specializes in whales.
“It shows that the Denmark straight is becoming a main migration routes for blue whales, leading them to the areas around Iceland and West of Spitsbergen.”
The Institute of Marine Research is in their last year of a six year whale surveying project, which tallies Norwegian whales systematically. Though they won’t release their final figures until after the summer season, Øien urges caution when interpreting the increase in sightings.
“Incidental sightings provide very little towards absolute numbers,” he said.
Russia’s only aircraft carrier, the Northern Fleet’s “Admiral Kuznetsov”, has finished repairs and is ready to leave the port of Murmansk. According to a Russian news agency, the vessel will sail to Syria.
A century and a half ago, Norway was home to roughly three thousand brown bears, the majority of bears in all of Scandinavia. By 1930, the bears were virtually extinct. Decades of aggressive management tactics and bounties had wiped out one of the area’s most iconic species.
Microplastics, the tiny plastic particles that are accumulating in marine waters and big lakes around the world, are now showing up in the Arctic waters south and southwest of Svalbard, Norway, a new study says.
REYKJAVIK: The climatic changes taking place in the Arctic are a call to action for the world. We must answer with more international cooperation and more research, says Tore Hattrem, State Secretary of Norway’s Foreign Ministry.
“Partnership should and shall shape the development of the Arctic, therefore cooperation is the starting point for our Arctic policy,” Vladimir Barbin, Senior Arctic Official and representative to the Arctic Council, said at the Arctic Circle 2015 assembly.
August 9th, the Barents Region celebrated the UN International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples. The day was commemorated in several parts of the region, including Karasjok in Northern Norway and Teriberka in Northwestern Russia.
Norway’s Foreign Minister Børge Brende has asked Russia for an explanation to the high number of asylum seekers coming to Norway via Russia. Syrian refugees that have lived in Russia for a long time, will be stopped on the border and sent back.