Interview: Kosterhavet National Park

Picture 7

Kosterhavet National Park is the first national marine park of Sweden and was inaugurated in September 2009. It is located in Strömstad and Tanum municipalities in Bohuslän, Västra Götaland County, Sweden. It consists of the sea and shores around the Koster Islands, however excluding the islands themselves. We got to sit down with Martin Larsvik
one the head Marine Biologist at the park.
How long have you been working as a marine biologist? How long at this reserve?

I have been working as a marine biologist since 1991. In 1992 I started at the Lovén Centre Tjärnö, which is close to the Kosterhavet Marine National Park, inaugurated in 2009.

Can you describe the sea life around the park?

In the Kosterhavet Marine National Park there are about 6000 marine species. More than 200 of those have not been found elsewhere in Sweden, but can be found further west in the Atlantic Ocean. There are, for instance, large brown macroalgae (kelp), sponge animals, polychaete worms, crabs, starfish, sea cucumbers and fish. The most spectacular species is the eye coral (Lophelia pertusa), forming coral reefs at a depth of 85 meters.

I heard that the park doesn’t allow cars? Is that true? Is there protection from all sorts of pollutents?

Motor vehicles are only allowed on roads, but since there practically are no roads, we can say that the park doesn’t allow cars. But the park allow for motorboats, and there is no regulation of what kind of fuel the motorboats can use.

What are some of the most unique creatures you have come across?

There are several species which have been discovered by science in the area close to the Lovén Centre. One is a 9 mm long polychaete worm without mouth or gut.

What do you think about the oil spills off the coast of the US? How traumatic is that for sea life?

Considering the very large volume of oil that have been spilled, I think it is traumatic. Long-term effects of toxic compound of the oil accumulated in the food web, is believed to be more detrimental than the more easily seen short-term surface and shore effects.

Continue reading…