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.
A step-by-step increase up to SEK 5,5 billion will be added to the annual defense budget following the Ukraine crisis. The cash will partly come by cutting spending on environment and nuclear safety cooperation with Russia.
MURMANSK: Ecological groups gathered on Kola Peninsula fear that Barents nature will be the looser after Oslo decided to call off the environmental minister’s Moscow meeting in response to Russia’s annexation of Crimea.
TROMSØ: Since the first five specimens of snow crab were found in the Barents Sea in 1996, the population has exploded. There is now ten times as much snow crab than king crab in the area, and scientists are just starting to find out how this new species has adopted to life in the Barents Sea.
More than 900 reindeer die of hunger on the Russian Arctic island of Kolguyev following a critical lack of available local pasturelands. The reindeer stocks in the area are too badly managed, regional authorities admit.
Three days processing of visa-applications is history. “Always apply at least 15 days prior to scheduled departure. Our processing time is 10 days,” says Marit Egholm Jacobsen, head of the visa section at Norway’s Consulate General in Murmansk.
Board member Amund Trellevik in the press network fears entry-denial of Kremlin’s controversial propaganda-journalist Dmitry Kiselyov could be retaliated by refusing Norwegian journalists access to Russia.
“Young journalists are the future of cross border communication in the North. We feel it is important to give them a possibility to network and learn about new media”, says Virpi Komulainen, project coordinator of the Barents Mediasphere.