The Lofoten islands are a large group of islands off the North West coast of Norway. They are home to the world's largest cod and herring stocks, shoals of sperm and killer whales and extensive sea bird colonies. The waters also contain the world's biggest coldwater coral reef, discovered and protected only recently. The nature and wildlife of Lofoten is unlike any in Norway and the world.
Lofoten is currently being considered a UNESCO world heritage site. We support this move as a means to protect this environment and as a positive move towards sustainable tourism.
Our photographic tutor is a main contributor to both the old and new Lofoten Guide that highlights sound environmental practices to protect the Lofoten Islands. We bring environmental issues re Lofoten to the attention of our participants. For example:
The oil industry is lobbying heavily to get rights to use the oil resources outside of Lofoten; they argue that this will bring wealth to Lofoten. Environmentalists state that oil will damage the natural resources and fishing which the island is dependant on. There is a marked opposition to oil and gas activity from fishermen in this region.
We encourage visitors to walk/hike if possible and to observe the following environmentally sound practices.
When out in wild places keep erosion to a minimum, keep to footpaths and avoid stepping on or picking native flora.
Use water sparingly and avoid buying plastic bottles of water. Use your own metal or heavy-duty plastic bottle such as Nalgene to refill with water from a safe source as recommended. In Lofoten it is not necessary to buy water from a shop, as sources are exceptionally pure.
River water could also be drinking water, do not contaminate water supplies by washing in it. Any washing products should be phosphate free.
Minimise pollution, and carry out all litter. Lofoten has one of the lowest levels of environmental pollution in the world and we support keeping it this way.
We make our images freely available to organisations that are actively encouraging sound environmental practices
Wherever possible we work electronically, we are totally web based and our paper use is minimal.
Lofoten communities rely on traditional ways of making a living. Tourism, fishing, farming and local crafts such as knitting are seen as a viable and sustainable way of living. We actively support these community initiatives in the following ways:
Our locations are spread across the islands. We stay in family run initiatives, guest houses, converted fishermans cabins etc. we are rewarded with a very personal service, quieter locations, fresher home grown produce and insight into the lives and folklore of local people. We always ensure that participants on our vacations get the opportunity to see and purchase local products.
Local food can be obtained easily in Lofoten, for example fish, lamb and dairy products. Each day we buy local produce for our picnic lunches to be eaten on location and our accommodations pride themselves in introducing us to local Lofoten fare for both breakfast and dinner.
On this trip we always take time to visit and support the local museums, art galleries and any local initiatives that may be happening in the villages that we visit. We take boat trips with local operators to support those three particular communities directly.
Fishing which has been the traditional source of income for the island communities is undergoing changes. Big trawlers are buying the fish quotas and often unloading in other countries and possibly damaging wildlife with their trawls. We support policy changes on a national level that could make coastal fishery viable again and thereby support a living fishing community.
We make our images freely available to organisations that are actively encouraging sustainable community initiatives
All of our service suppliers are informed of our responsible travel policy which is clearly visible on our website.