Fish or oil


There have been fisheries in Lofoten for thousands of year. Now Norways ruling Labour Party have taken the first step to open the sensitive waters off these islands to oil and gas exploration. Norway was for about hundred years ago one of the poorest countries in Europe. Since we found oil about 1970 we have become one of the richest. So oil is important for our economy. Now they want to look for more oil in this area, which is very popular among travellers. But some say the fisheries and the tourism in Lofoten are more important. At least more long lasting. The waters around the Lofoten islands are the spawning ground of the largest cod population in the world. So there is a big dispute going on. And this issue have created a big political conflict. Here are a few peaceful pictures from Lofoten and Vesterålen, and there are a few more in this photo gallery.



Vågan Church in Lofoten as also called the Lofoten Cathedral. This has been a church site since the 1100s, but this one was built in 1898. It is made of wood, and the church is the largest wooden building in Northern Norway.






52 thoughts on “Fish or oil

  1. Sadly, with so much money in oil, Norwegian economy aside, and the oil comapanies so powerful, there’ll be no stone left unturned on earth in the search for oil, before alternative technologies are allowed to flourish and the infernal (typo intentional) combustion engine can be resigned to history.


  2. Ah, Lofoten – one of the most beautiful and fascinating places I’ve ever visited. Perhaps, if the (2002) submission of the Lofoten Islands to the UNESCO World Heritage List is approved, they (and the waters around them) will be spared.


  3. Your story of the possible destruction of a place that is so beautiful and vital for the fishing industry is all to common. Here in the states and else where, the gas and oil companies are “the ruling party.” Politicians and local big shots are all “in bed” with the huge corporations that appear intent on destroying every last shred of the natural environment which ultimatey is essential for life, both human and animal.

    I read an article or it might have been in a book (many years ago) that was written by a scientist, that after mankind destroys the oceans, humans will be destined to succumb to starvation and other maladies. Most of the world’s population is sustained by the bounty of the sea.

    Beautiful photos of the place you have written about. Really exceptional.


  4. A well-known dilemma as the norwegian people are in – the conflict between what you would like to preserve (nature) and you are afraid of perhaps losing (welfare) – don’t know how much the 2 claims in one another here – but it is too important to the norwegian people leave it to the politicians to decide … 🙂

    Wonderful photos… 🙂

    Although I am not religious, so the church in Vågan was a great experience that summer we passed – understand that Bishop Berggrav in 1929 called it a cathedral – a kindly nickname that grew fixed in the minds of public… 🙂


  5. The most fundamental principal of ecology is that all the life-form will be extinct
    by their own product and the by-product. Such as even botanical plankton who
    enrich the water by their by-product of photosynthesis will become a victim of
    their own success.
    Human is not an exception. Not only the pollution, but even by the climate change,
    let alone the destruction from the nuclear technology or even from the tampering
    of the gene. —– there may not be any escape.
    So, enjoy the beauty of nature, and taste the fresh catch of fish while we can.
    Sorry I’m a pessimist. 😦


  6. El conflicto está servido: me temo lo peor, y espero a la suerte o al buen sentido…
    Pero las fotos geniales: la en B/N y, en especial, la primera… una maravilla sobre un paraíso.
    Gracias. Felicidades sinceras. Al


  7. Such an area needs to be preserved. Your photos show that. I can understand the desire of the oil companies but your post only points out to clearly the need for alternatives to oil,a finite source of energy anyway, and the need to find a more earth friendly long term solution.


  8. It’s a shame that the long tradition of local fishermen is under pressure by bureaucrats, they maybe not even get a decent pension from them, not to speak of the fish involved.


  9. When I was able to vote I vote for the fish buth the oil companies are to powerful to win, shame on theme! Your photos from Lofoten are beautiful Bente I hope that the struggle is long!


  10. Lovely images.

    I’m all for leaving the seas and fish protected, but the reality is that when I look around me at how much technology and power we use in our daily lives, I am forced to see that there’s no stopping exploration for oil and mineral deposits.

    Perhaps the answer is to find some sort of balance between the old and new – preservation and restoration of forests, flora & fauna in the most important natural environments and selected areas of mining & exploration in other areas. I wouldn’t mind betting every person with internet access has many gadgets and technology in their home which wastes power.

    There was a time when I had no car, tv, dvd, video, home computer, printer, dishwasher, electrical such as heaters & kitchen appliances etc. My work colleagues couldn’t understand how I managed without modern day conveniences at the time. I still don’t have a car or electrical kitchen appliances, because the simple reality is that I can do without them.


  11. Thanks for your beautiful series about Lofoten and Vesterålen here and in your photo gallery. These islands are really unique and left one marvelling. I was there in summer and winter (only short in winter). And I like this special place. Unfortunately I never photographed the Sildpollen church from that typical perspective you did. Isn’t that a nice reason to come back to Lofoten?!!! 🙂 Ha en kjempeflott dag! 😀


  12. Lovely shots. I am not surprised that the government wants to explore for more oil. Governments think short term by and large. But the reason they explore us because we use the stuff and continue to look for an affordable sustainable alternative. And countries increasingly want to be energy independent. It’s not an easy equation to solve but it seems criminal to target this area.


  13. The Lofoten Islands have been on my wish list of places for along time – how lovely to do some armchair travelling anyway. There are so many conflicts with nature and oil exploration at present – very disturbing.


  14. What a beautiful place! I hope they won’t start the oil extration there. Here in Catalonia there’s also an important confict as some silly people want to start fracking (which is a devastating technique).


  15. Pengarna eller livet? Så är det över stora delar av världen. Sorgligt. Har rest från Harstad helt ut till Å 😀
    Klem og alt godt til dae!


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