In collaboration with the Institute for Marine Research, Statoil has operated a cabled ocean observatory outside Lofoten-Vesterålen in northern Norway since 2013. Due to the narrow continental shelf, the area is described as the gateway to the Barents Sea. The marine ecosystem is highly valuable and productive; and an important habitat and spawning ground for a number of key species in northern ecosystems. Particular focus is on the Northeast Atlantic cod and cold-water corals including Lophelia pertusa which forms substantial framework reefs in this area. Other important species include herring, sponges and soft corals. Fisheries and, closer to shore, tourism are important sectors in the region. The area is not open for oil and gas activities; however, this is currently under discussion.

Blue Growth Sectors: Fisheries, Oil and Gas, Tourism

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Lophelia pertusa Photo by Solvin Zankl GEOMAR

Lophelia pertusa, the only species in the genus Lophelia, is a cold-water coral which grows in the deep waters throughout the North Atlantic ocean © Solvin Zankl, GEOMAR