The use of marine base maps in the management of marine areas

Category Other
Group GSI.IR
Location International Geological Congress,oslo 2008
Author Longva, Oddvar۱; Plassen, Liv۱; Thorsnes, Terje۱; Rasmussen, Tone۲; Arvesen, Bّrge۳
Holding Date 08 October 2008

In the Norwegian coastal zone, there are high expectations for value creation based on marine resources. At the same time, knowledge of the environmental conditions is pretty limited. Much of the planning is based on "blue surfaces" – meaning that the main source of information is old and often outdated. For example, standard nautical charts provide very limited information on bathymetry, and virtually no information on submarine landscapes, sediments and substrates, currents and other environmental parameters. In order to optimize value creation, in a sustainable way, better knowledge is required. This increased knowledge should also facilitate reduced conflict in the use and development of particular areas.
In Troms County in northern Norway, a group of local municipalities have joined forces to make better plans for the management of their marine areas. The plan covers location of fishfarms, fishing- and spawning areas, environmental status, and the location of infrastructure to optimize the use of their marine areas. As part of the project, swath bathymetry data for the fjords have been collected and groundtruthed by video and grab sampling. The benthic faunal assemblages and content of pollutants in the sediments have also been mapped. The environmental status for the area is presently good, and the data provide a base line for future monitoring. This fact is used to promote sales of marine products from the area.
Marine base maps including geological maps and derived thematic maps are incorporated in the in the area plan as a GIS. These include grain size, average current velocity, anchoring conditions, slide hazard and potential oxygen deficiency areas. At the same time these base maps are made into electronic charts for use on chart plotters on work vessels. The maps have given the fishfarmers tools to optimize the location of the fishfarms for better fish health and productivity, and to anchor their installations more safely. Through this initiative the municipalities have gained tools for knowledge based management of their marine areas, including far better knowledge on potential habitats for vulnerable species. The Troms project is a pilot project which may serve as a model for a full coverage mapping effort for the entire coastal zone of Norway, facilitating economic growth and maintaining a sustainable environment.