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The Oil – Fish Programme

The overarching objective of this programme is to generate new knowledge about the acute and long-term effects on fish and other marine organisms of discharges of oil to the sea, chemicals used in drilling and production, and produced water, as well as to obtain new knowledge about the effects of seismic shooting on fish and other marine organisms. The programme will contribute in particular to providing the Management Plan for Lofoten and the Barents Sea with a better knowledge base.

Tasks and sub-goals:

  • To simulate the effects of acute oil spills in the most important spawning grounds of north-east arctic cod and Norwegian spring-spawning herring, on survival rates of eggs, fry and larvae, and thus obtain estimates of the degree to which acute oil spills influence numbers in recruiting year-classes.
  • To simulate the long-term effects of oil spills in important fish spawning and nursery grounds.
  • To perform experimental studies of the effects of oil on cod and herring eggs, larvae and fry.
  • To perform experimental studies of the effects of produced water on copepods and fatty fish such as herring and mackerel.
  • To perform large-scale field studies with caged fish downstream of producing oil installations, in order to measure the effects of the pollution produced by such installations.
  • To obtain more knowledge of the effects of seismic shooting on early life stages of fish, and on marine mammals.
  • Dissemination and implementation of research results.



Advisory services:

On the basis of existing knowledge and accepted methodologies, to monitor and evaluate the state and expected development of the marine environment and living resources in order to provide advice about the state of the environment and the harvesting and production potential of living marine resources.
On the basis of existing knowledge, to produce studies capable of serving as a basis for management measures or political decision-making.  

Research and development:

Generation of new knowledge and new methods that can be utilised in our advisory services.

Main Activities:

  • Monitoring marine pollution levels in Norwegian coastal and off-shore waters
  • Radioactive isotopes
  • Toxins (eg. organic pollutants and heavy metals)
  • Mercury levels around the wreck of the German WW2 submarine off Fedje in Hordaland
  • Study the effects of produced water on our marine ecosystems
  • Long-term effects on Norwegian Spring-Spawning herring
  • Development of cod
  • Study the effects of acute pollution
  • Long-term effects of oil pollution on pelagic ecosystems
  • Study and give management advice on the effects of marine noise
  • Effect of seismic surveying on fish and marine life
  • Study the effect of seismic sound on zooplankton
  • Effect of sound (eg. high-intensity sonars) on marine life
  • Management advice
  • Development of new indicators for the state of the Barents Sea ecosystem
  • Follow-up of the management plan for the Barents Sea
  • International advice (AMAP etc)