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The Norwegian Centre against Marine Litter is a government agency under the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment. Our primary objective is to ensure cleaner seas through the reduction of marine litter.

The centre is based in Lofoten and is a leading centre of excellence on the incidence and clean-up of marine litter. We also work on the prevention of litter from sea-based sources. The centre will collaborate with the Norwegian Environment Agency, county governors and other relevant authorities and will make significant contributions to collaboration across sectors and participants. The centre will undertake work nationally and internationally.

The centre will also administer the subsidy scheme Subsidies for initiatives against marine litter and in 2022 it will distribute NOK 50 million, with major national collaborations on the clean-up of marine litter a priority area.

The centre had 14 employees at the start of 2022 and is led by Ann-Helen Ernstsen.

You can find the main instructions, which entered into force on 01/01/2022, for the Norwegian Centre against Marine Litter here. The document is in Norwegian.

Our main tasks

Knowledge overview: The centre will maintain an overview of knowledge relating to the incidence of marine litter, clean-up operations and the prevention of sea-based litter. The centre will disseminate this knowledge in ways that are easily accessible, both nationally and internationally. The centre does not conduct research activities, but may support research through information and communication initiatives.

Coordinated clean-up operations: The centre will contribute to properly coordinated, cost-effective and environmentally friendly clean-up activities with excellent HSE procedures in Norway, as well as through international collaborations. The centre will lead the “Government collaboration forum for the clean-up of marine litter” and a collaboration council for key national players. The Rent hav and Rydde tools have important roles to play in the coordination efforts and the centre is responsible for the further development of these apps.

Specialist advisor and communicator: The centre will contribute knowledge, analyses and support to the Norwegian Ministry of Climate and Environment with regard to adopted policies and the design of new policies and instruments. The centre will also communicate knowledge regarding clean-up operations and prevention to relevant players. This also includes the climate-related and environmental impact of various clean-up methods.

International collaboration: The centre will assist with knowledge efforts relating to the state of the environment and the clean-up and prevention of litter from sea-based sources in international forums by approval of the Ministry. The centre will also actively contribute to the Global Partnership on Marine Litter (GPML) and communicate relevant information to its global knowledge platform.

The history of the centre

The centre was formerly the Norwegian Centre for Oil Spill Preparedness and Marine Environment and was established in 2018. During its early years, the centre worked to strengthen Norwegian oil spill preparedness and also had several responsibilities linked to marine litter. From 2018 until 2021, the centre operated under the auspices of the Norwegian Ministry of Transport and Communications and investigated, among other things, the establishment of a test centre for oil spill preparedness in Lofoten and Vesterålen. In the spring of 2021, the Norwegian government decided to transfer the centre’s oil spill preparedness responsibilities to the Norwegian Coastal Administration from 2022. In the same year, the centre became a dedicated centre to combat marine litter.