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colour ringing

2 August 2013

The Norwegian Animal Experimentation Committee (NARA) has rejected my application to mark geese with colour rings and take a small blood sample.

Svalbardposten 5 July 2013

Svalbardposten 2 August 2013


The law has not changed but the interpretation of the law, by the animal experimentation committee has. So they have asked me to send in an application for colour ringing and blood sampling. Than they rejected this application. Their reasoning: NARA finds that the hypothesis and obtained results are not sufficiently described. The project has been going on for many years, many birds have been marked, and from the application the remaining questions to be answered are not clear. It is not sufficient to refer to long data series. Also, the justification for the number of birds planned to be used, is not sufficiently provided. Finally, the procedures are not sufficiently described, including handling time of the birds and how the procedures have been refined over the years.

In a revised application NARA would like to have information and documentation on whether the use of new technology, ie. loggers, radiotransmitters etc. can be applied and how the use of such technology may reduce the number birds needed to answer the questions asked. The next NARA meeting will be August 20 2013, and the deadline for sending a (revised) application is July 30 2013. Pleas note that according to the regulation on animal experimentation, it is not possible for NARA to approve on any field experiment for more than two years at a time.

Also, NARA requests to have a report on what has been the result so far after so many years of marking birds and which information is still lacking from a scientific and/or management related perspective This report should be send to NARA within July 30 2013.


Next meeting of NARA is after the field season. So I will miss an annual datapoint in a continuous time series since 1991. We have about ten different studies based on this sampling, but how to describe bird ringing in general which would be appropriate to the comments of NARA.

At first I just accepted, but than I found out that I am the only one of the local ornithologists who has asked permission and who has been instructed to ask permission. All my Norwegian colleagues have interpreted the situation differently. Even Geir Wing Gabrielsen who has been several years member of NARA. There is a lot of colour marking and also blood sampling by Norwegians. I seem to be the first who is entangled in this adminstrative web. Stavanger Museum is convinced that a ringing license (which I have) is enough for colour marking and taking a small blood sample.

So I have asked Sysselmannen if this is not a violation of the Salbard Treaty. They simply stated in their answer that it is something between NARA and me. They have correspondence that I should know that permission was needed from 2010 and that they will not approve unless NARA has approved.

So I have now permission from the Governor to ring 350 barnacle geese with metal rings only.

Everybody is on holiday and nothing can be done. The local newspaper follows all correspondence with Sysselmannen (which is always public). So far, they have written two articles about this issue, simply stating the situation. This autumn, I will seek further clarification.



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