Briefs from Svalbardposten for the week of March 8, 2016


City leaders don’t know how much alcohol is consumed
Politicians in Longyearbyen say total consumption of alcohol should be reduced, but don’t know how much is being sold. There were 24 alcohol licenses for local businesses and 67 licenses for various events in 2015, plus Nordpolet’s retail sales license. The Longyearbyen Community Council is working an alcohol policy proposal aimed at reduced alcohol use, especially among youths, but it is facing criticism due to a lack of reporting requirements. “Much of the assessment and the alcohol policy proposal smells of disclaimer,” said Espen Rotevatn, a Green Party member of the council. The only existing figures related to consumption are Nordpolet’s sales and Korkpenger money (cultural grants funded with taxes from alcohol sales).

Pair selected to overwinter at Austfjordnes trapping station
Gard Christophersen, 29, and Bård Blæsterdalen, 28, have been selected to spend a year as the caretakers of the historic trapping station at Austfjordnes. Eight applications from 13 people were submitted to The Governor of Svalbard, who annually picks one or more caretakers. “An overwintering year trapping is something we are really passionate about and we are convinced that we will deal with in an exceptional way if we get the opportunity,” they wrote when they submitted the application,” the winner pair wrote in their application. Both have lived in Svalbard for two-and-a-half years, and have extensive hunting and other outdoor experience.

Svalbardposten circulation down 3.5 percent in 2015
Svalbardposten’s net circulation in 2015 was 2,544, down from 2,636 in 2014. The newspaper had 111 fewer print subscribers, but an increase is digital subscribers resulted in an overall lost of 92 readers. “That represents a decline of 3.5 percent and that was expected,” said Svalbardposten Editor Eirik Palm. The totals show most residents of Svalbard read the newspaper and the number of local subscribers is holding steady. The newspaper’s website had a record number of visitors, with more than 3.4 million during 2015.