The Wild Living Marine Resources Belong to Society as a Whole

Editors: Randi Nygård and Karolin Tampere
Publisher: Ensayo#4, 2017
Design: David Benski & Laurens Bauer Trykkeri: Tallinna Raamatutru?kikoja OU? Opplag: 500
ISBN: 978-82-303-3659-5

The anthology The Wild Living Marine Resources Belong to Society as a Whole contains a wide range of expressions: poems, essays, photos, articles, manifests and artworks. All of which relate to our management of natural resources or discuss our fundamental views on nature. The book got its name from Section 2 of the Norwegian Marine Resources Act: The Wild Living Marine Resources Belong to Society as a Whole in Norway.
What can laws and management tell us about the relationships we have to nature and to our surroundings? And what role can art play in relation to climate change and environmental issues?

The book is edited by Randi Nygård and Karolin Tampere as part of Ensayo#4 which examines identity, history, geography, language, and law in connection with the management of resources related to water, the sea, and the coast. The goal is to understand, express and manage the big environmental issues we are facing in new and better ways.

The following artists, poets, academics and fishermen have contributed to the book:

Christy Gast, Geir Tore Holm, Søssa Jørgensen, Amy Franceschini and Futurefarmers, Jahn Petter Johnsen (Norges fiskerihøgskule, UiT), Solveig Bøe (NTNU, Trondheim), Jason Hall-Spencer (Plymouth University), Inger Elisabeth Hansen, Alejandra Mancilla (UiO), Lise Doksæter Sivle (Havforskningsintituttet i Bergen), Paul Wassmann (UiT), Camilla Brattland (UiT), Michelle-Marie Letelier, Georgiana Dobre, Camila Marambio, Camilla Renate Nicolaisen, Maja Nilsen, Munan Øvrelid, Cecilia Vicuña, Erik Solheim (UN Environment Executive Director, UNEP), Kjersti Vetterstad, Georgiana Dobre, Camila Marambio, Sarita Gálvez, Barbara Savedra (Director, Wildlife Conservation Society, Chile), Arne Johan Vetlesen (UiO) og Amy Balkin.

The publication is supported by Arts Council Norway and Billedkunstnernes vederlagsfond.

Due to the theme of Ensayo#4 the editors decided to look at Norwegian legislation around ocean and the coast, specifically The Marine Resources Act. Its Section 2 clearly stood out from the rest of the wording of the law; The Wild Living Marine Resources Belong to Society as a Whole in Norway.
It struck us as both poetical and strange. The wording was almost romantic, but also contradictory. What and who are the wild living? How can what is wild and living be a resource? And what does it mean that the wild living marine resources belong to society as a whole? What community do one mean by the sentence society as a whole and how does this section influence management?
The editors decided to investigate the law both through inviting artists to respond to it, and through having conversations with scientists, artists, fishermen about resources, the wild living, management, about eco-systems and about values in nature at Kurant in Tromsø.
After the exhibition there the idea to make a book came up, as a way to communicate the answers we got and to go deeper into some of the perspectives and questions the project had raised.

In the book each chapter is introduced by excerpts from the interviews we did in Tromsø and named after each word of the law, The Wild Living, Marine, Resources, Belong to and Soceity as a Whole. Writers, poets, philosophers, scientists and artists were invited to respond to each topic.

Solveig Bøe, Professor of Philosophy at NTNU, Trondheim, writes about the wild living. She points to how the wording of the law alienates us from the wild in ourselves, from the wild animals with whom we share the world and from our common environment. She also says that even if one can claim that we are an animal on top of a hierarchical system of animals and that we therefore must kill and eat others, we can still see them as individuals and as fellow beings.
She also thinks that in a new way of thinking politics, where the animals are included, poetry will play an important role.

“In civilisations without boats,” Michel Foucault observed, “dreams dry up.”
Maja Nilsens text Where ever the Ocean takes me was written down during a regression therapy session under hypnosis so personal experiences, collective symbols, unconscious and universal ideas about the ocean might have played a role in the creation of this beautiful text about an old sea mans last trip into the ocean.

In Lise Doksæter Sivles text we learn about sound in the ocean, primarily about how different fish communicate and how human produced sounds like seismology and sonar activity influence the fish and potentially their spawning as they flee when disturbed. Whales can communicate in the ocean from one continent to another one.

Paul Wassmann writes about how a functional centre might not be where most people live but where the climate is formed and functions in ecosystems determined. The Arctic Ocean is such a place. He also calls for more knowledge and says that humans must adjust their timeframes to the timelines of the ecosystems.

Jahn Petter Johnsen is a professor at The Norwegian College of Science of Fisheries. He says that one cannot manage the wild living resources but one can influence the humans that harvest from them. This is done through technology, regulations and permissions from the state based on research institutions reports. The fishing boats are part of a cybernetic network where technology, wild living beings, people, science, law are deeply intertwined.

In Amy Balkins ongoing art project Archive of sinking and melting the public are invited to send in things they have found in areas that are sinking or melting or both due to climate change.

In the text The Sea Rush by Alejandra Mancilla we learn about the history of international laws regulating the oceans.
3 to 4 nautical miles measured from the coast used to be considered as territorial waters by customary international law until the 20th century. This was the distance that a cannon shot could reach. Today the Continental Shelf belonging to a coastal state can extend up to 350 nautical miles from the coastal baseline.
Alejandra writes that today rather than for a Mare Liberrum, we should be advocating today for a Mare Nostrum, a jointly administered territory where everyone takes what they need, rather than what they can ... and that we all make sure that that is the way in which it is done.

In the interview that Randi Nyga?rd conducted with Arne Johan Vetlesen, he talks about how important experience is, about panpsychism, about trees that are considerate towards each other, and about how we are exhausting nature as well as ourselves.