As the same time as the Agreement on Delimitation of the Barents Sea and Polar Sea was signed between Norway and Russia, the Norwegian and Russian director generals of public prosecutions signed a protocol on cooperation on investigations and prosecution in common cases, like for instance the Elektron incident.
The incident with the Russian trawler “Elektron” is one of the most dramatic events in the history of the Norwegian Coast Guard. In October 2005 a Norwegian Coast Guard vessel caught the trawler in illegal fishing in a protected part of the Barents Sea. The captain refused to be subjected to arrest and took two Norwegian fisheries inspectors hostage and headed for Russian Economic Zone.
More than two years have passed since the two higher prosecution authorities came to an agreement, but still no concrete measurements have been taken. According to Director of the Regional Public Prosecution office in Troms and Finnmark Lars Fause a “hotline” to his Russian colleagues is highly needed:
“There is a big need for operational cooperation. As public prosecutor of Norway I have to be able to call the public prosecutor of Arkhangelsk or St. Petersburg if an acute situation should emerge”, he says to Nordlys.
Fause believes that the Elektron incident in 2005 marked a change of course in the realm of law enforcement, towards a more restrictive practice in the disputed waters. Illegal fishing in the area has been reduced significantly.
The Barents Region has some of the last largest areas of intact natural woodlands in Europe. Scientists, bureaucrats and environmentalists from all four Barents countries cooperate on preserving the forest, but an international initiative is needed.
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.