A new monitoring and information system for Northern coastal areas will be set up by the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs in Norway. Known as BarentsWatch, the full-spectrum project will be managed by the Norwegian Coastal Administration and will involve many specialist bodies, such as the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and the Norwegian Mapping Authority.
According to the Norway Post, the first stage of BarentsWatch will involve the creation of a public information portal in Tromso for sea areas. A closed operational system will also be developed in parallel to this, using information from a number of sources to help deal with special situations. This system will also be linked to the Vessel Traffic Service in Vardo.
It is hoped that BarentsWatch will allow the Norwegian authorities to obtain a greater picture of what is happening at any time in the vast sea areas in the North. Norway hopes the system will in turn safeguard its assets by strengthening its role as a responsible manager of the area’s waters.
Plans for the monitoring device were first announced in the government’s High North Strategy in 2006. The new tool would allow easily-accessible and up-to-date information on any accidents, as well as data for national and international environment, climate and resource assessments. Norwegian foreign policy could also be supported by the system.