Breaking of ice is not allowed

Several fjords on Svalbard are covered in ice this year. Throughout winter and spring, many species depend on sea ice for survival. The ringed seal births its pups in snow caves on the ice, and the ice is an important habitat and hunting area for polar bears. The breaking of ice is considered a deterioration of the natural environment and is not allowed.

Published 2/24/2020

The breaking of thin ice that is about to set may also contravene the rules of the Svalbard Environmental Act. The Governor points out that following ice floes that have opened up as a result of boat traffic is not in accordance with the general rules in § 73. This may prevent sea ice from settling again, thus prolonging the habitat deterioration.

The Governor reiterates that all traffic on Svalbard should be conducted in a way that does not damage, litter or impair the natural environment or cultural heritage sites. Wildlife and humans should not be unnecessarily disturbed.