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Goal of sustainable reindeer husbandry has not been realised

A new investigation conducted by the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) shows that large parts of the Finnmark Plateau have been overgrazed due to too high a number of reindeer. - The Ministry of Agriculture and Food, as the responsible ministry, has not contributed to reducing the number of reindeer to an ecologically sustainable level as presumed by the Norwegian Storting, says Auditor General Jørgen Kosmo.
Published 6/14/2012 12:25 PM

Document 3: 14 (2011 – 2012) The Office of the Auditor General’s investigation of sustainable reindeer husbandry in Finnmark was submitted to the Norwegian Storting on 14 June 2012.

Large parts of the Finnmark Plateau have been overgrazed because the number of reindeer has not been adapted to the pasture basis. From 2002 to 2010, the number of reindeer has increased by 40 per cent. Average slaughter weights and meat yield are also below the limit values for an ecologically sustainable number of reindeer. In recent years, the financial situation for the reindeer owners in Finnmark has also deteriorated. In its survey, the Office of the Auditor General (OAG) emphasises the special responsibility incumbent on the Ministry of Agriculture and Food to secure an ecologically sustainable number of reindeer in Finnmark.

- This entails that the Ministry must actively ensure that the reindeer industry prepares and implements reduction plans. OAG expects the minister to take the initiative and prepare a time schedule for this work, and ensure that the industry receives adequate assistance, says Auditor General Jørgen Kosmo.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Food’s management of the goal of sustainable reindeer husbandry has been deficient. The Ministry has not operationalized the goals of economic and cultural sustainability. It is therefore not possible to assess whether the reindeer husbandry is economically and culturally sustainable. This will have consequences for the Ministry’s opportunity to direct the policy instruments so that the paramount goals of sustainable reindeer husbandry are achieved.

- The Ministry must also ensure that the policy instruments available in the Reindeer Herding Act and the Reindeer Husbandry Agreement, including economic incentives and sanctions, are applied so as to reduce the number of reindeer, » says Kosmo.

Rules for the use of reindeer grazing districts are a prerequisite for achieving the goal of ecologically sustainable reindeer husbandry. Despite the urgency of adopting rules for use and an upper limit in the number of reindeer, the process has taken a long time. The rules for use have not contributed to clarifying pasture use and an upper limit in the number of reindeer in the winter grazing districts.

- The Ministry must ensure that the reindeer grazing districts draw up rules for use of the winter grazing areas, so that all seasonal grazing areas are used as a basis when stipulating an upper limit in the number of reindeer and use of grazing areas, the Auditor General concludes.

The Minister concurs with the main findings of the OAG to the effect that the goal of an ecologically sustainable reindeer husbandry has not been realised, and believes it is crucial to complete the ongoing processes for reducing the number of reindeer in Finnmark.

The document can be downloaded via the link on the right.

Public institutions can order the document from the Government Administration Services, tel. (+47) 22 24 20 00, publikasjonsbestilling@dss.dep.no. Others can order it from Fagbokforlaget AS, tel. (+47) 55 38 66 00, offpub@fagbokforlaget.no.

The deferral of public access to documents prepared by or for the Office of the Auditor General in connection with Document No 3:11 (2011-2012), cf. the Act relating to the Office of the Auditor General section 18 second paragraph, is hereby set aside.

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