AECO (Association of Arctic Expedition Cruise Operators) has received more than €250,000 ($300,000) from Svalbard's environmental protection fund to carry out three different environmental projects. AECO is, by far, the most successful recipient of funds from the government owned environmental fund this spring.
Three projects: Site Guidelines, Cruise database and Decontamination
One of the projects is the development of yet another set of site-specific guidelines – this time for a number of sites in eastern Svalbard. This project is a continuation of a site-guidelines project that has already been carried out on the west coast of Spitsbergen.
Another large project is the development of a cruise database, as a tool to monitor cruise operations in Svalbard. Last but not least, AECO is launching a project with the purpose of preventing seeds to spread across Svalbard. This involves cleaning of cruise guests’ clothes and footwear.
AECO “the grand winner” of this spring’s allocations
Svalbard’s environmental protection fund received 112 applications this autumn. The fund decided to support 42 of these, with almost € 1million in total - of which AECO received €250 000. The board in Svalbard’s environmental protection fund says in it’s press release that ”The board has prioritized projects that fulfills all the fund’s criteria, has a high quality, addresses relevant issues, has a clear and trustworthy budget, which will strengthen Svalbard’s environment and increase the knowledge of the administration - the Governor of Svalbard”.
Contribution is recognition of AECO’s work for the environment
AECOs general secretary Frigg Jørgensen is very pleased by this year’s funding decision. ”We see it as recognition of our dedicated environmental work. All guests, including cruise passengers visiting Svalbard, contribute to Svalbard’s environmental protection fund through a visitor’s fee of €20. Our projects aim at giving visitors back some of the value of this money. It is great that Svalbard’s Environmental fund makes it possible for our organization to carry out large projects aiming at protecting the environmental.