Marine Habitat Mapping for the Norwegian Sea
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An initiative is currently being taken by several Norwegian organizations to obtain funds to intensify ongoing investigations on marine sea-floor mapping off Norway. Led by the Geological Survey of Norway and Institute of Marine Research, planning during the last two years has led to the inception of a large-scale mapping project entitled “MAREANO - Marine Areal Database for the Norwegian Sea”. The investigation area covers 270 000 km2 of the shelf and deep sea off the central part of western Norway. It is a commercially important region for fisheries and the petroleum industry and includes the world’s largest system of cold-water coral reefs. The aim of MAREANO is to collect new as well as historical data elucidating the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the seabed along the mid-Norwegian shelf and parts of the deeper Norwegian Sea. The project shall produce maps and/or provide information on seabed bathymetry, marine habitats, biological diversity and resources, mineralogical resources and geological features as well as habitat contamination. Stored in a GIS database, this information shall be available to environmental managers and interest groups as well as the fisheries, aquaculture and petroleum industries via a dedicated system on the intern&. A description of the MARFKNO project as well as some early results and their consequences for environmental management, e.g. establishing marine protected areas, shall be presented.
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