Welcome to the Skjervøy, the administrative centre of Skjervøy municipality, located at the heart of the northernmost region, Troms og Finnmark county, Norway. It represents a typical coastal fishing community in northern Norway, which has experienced significant changes in its physical landscape and use of land/ocean space.
Ancient Sami settlement sites in the island date back to the Stone Age. Fishing in combination with subsistence farming used to be the most common way of living here. From 1945 to the early 1980s, there was a steady increase in population, followed by a slight decline. The animated GIF image, based on the best available Landsat images (1984-2020), one image per year from July to September, shows annual changes in coastal land use and some major changes in coastal water use – expansion of the ports and development of fish farms. First, following recent depopulation trends, many fishing villages or hamlets along the coast (except administrative centres/urban settlements) are marginalised and struggling to exist.
The consequence of this is visible in coastal land use. Second, several transformations caused by infrastructure development, industrialisation, tourism and globalisation are visible around Skjervøy (town) centre and the port. In recent years fish farming, fjord aquaculture, fish processing and the metal and shipbuilding industries have grown significantly. The development and expansion of fish farms and the expansion of ports in coastal waters are visible. Skjervøy (town) centre has become an important fishing port and service centre for the fishing fleet in northern Norway. Tourism, boosted by fishing-related activities and the Northern Lights phenomenon, is a rapidly increasing economic activity. Tourist traffic plays an increasing role in transforming the coast with increasing camping, tourists’ accommodations and catering activities. Third, there appears to be increased vegetation around the coast. Forest regeneration is visible around remote coastal settlements/hamlets and in the mountains. Fourth, changes in the physical landscape caused by the construction of a new road is also visible.
Credit: Keshav Prasad Paudel