MAREANO (Marine AREAl database for NOrwegian waters) mapping activities are focused on: the distribution of natural resources; biodiversity; the physical environment supporting bottom communities; vulnerable habitats; impacts from fishing; sediment types; and chemical contaminants. Findings provide the background information needed to support future management decisions made to safeguard marine benthic organisms and protect vulnerable habitats. The MAREANO programme is steered by a group representing the national Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs; Ministry of the Environment; Ministry of Trade and Industry; and Ministry of Petroleum and Energy.
The “Integrated Management Plan of the Marine Environment of the Barents Sea and the Sea Areas off the Lofoten Islands” (Report No. 8 to the Storting, 2005-2006) emphasizes that mapping bottom habitats along the continental slope and on fishing banks adjacent to the coast of Northern Norway must be given priority. Findings are presented: 1) on MAREANO’s Internet portal; 2) to the Norwegian government in a report from a standing panel of experts; and available in the book publication “Til bunns i Barentshavet”/ ‘Getting to the Bottom of the Barents Sea’ (2010; in Norwegian).
The plan for “Integrated Management of the Marine Environment of the Norwegian Sea ” (Report No. 37 to the Storting, 2008-2009) requires that mapping of the bottom habitats be carried out during 2010 in the Norwegian Sea. Similar to the Barents Sea, priority areas to be mapped in the Norwegian Sea include: the great fishing banks; the continental slopes; and areas along the Polar Front - where cold and relatively warm water masses meet and form areas of high productivity. The Nordland VI oil field - positioned southwest of the Lofoten Islands - will also be mapped.