The management of Svalbard has high goals for the conservation of environment and human artefacts. For this reason, various restrictions apply to traffic.
All access and passage in Svalbard shall take place in a way that does not harm, pollute, or any other way damage the natural environment or cultural heritage or result in unnecessary disturbance to humans or animals.
- All animals and birds are protected and shall not be disturbed.
- All flowers and plants are protected and shall not be picked.
- All traces of human activity from 1945 or earlier are automatically protected. Human graves (or remains of graves), human skeletal remains, crosses and inscriptions are all protected regardless of their age. The same applies to bones and hunting gear on slaughtering sites for walrus and beluga, and spring gun installations used for polar bears. Protective monuments are surrounded by a 100 metre wide security zone in all directions, within which it is prohibited to set up tents, light fires or in any way damage the cultural heritage.
- It is prohibited to burn anything but clean paper and wood. Do not throw any rubbish in the nature, it shall be taken back to Longyearbyen.
Traffic restrictions at fauna sites
Some areas are subject to date-dependent restrictions. This applies to:
- 15 bird reserves, where all traffic is prohibited during the nesting period, 15 May to 15 August. The traffic ban also applies within a 300 metre zone surrounding islands (see map).
- The island Moffen to the north of Spitzbergen, which represents an important resting ground for walrus and a nesting place for birds. It is prohibited to land on the island from 15 May to15 September. The traffic ban also applies within a 300 metre zone surrounding the island (see map).
- Kong Karl's Land, which is an important breeding ground for polar bears and is closed to traffic all year-round. Here, the traffic prohibition also applies within a 500 metre zone surrounding the islands and in the air.
- The southern part of Bjørnøya, which harbours important nesting grounds for seabirds, and were all traffic is prohibited from 1 April to 31 August. For boats larger than 40 feet, the prohibition also applies within a zone of 1 nautical mile from land (see map).
- An area on the north-eastern part of Bjørnøya, where all traffic is prohibited from 15 June to 31 August out of consideration for nesting birds (see map).
Traffic restrictions at cultural heritage sites
There are traffic prohibitions at the following cultural heritage sites:
Virgohamna, where there are important human artefacts and all traffic is prohibited. The Governor may permit visits to Virgohamn on certain conditions. Please contact the Governor for further information.
Gravneset i Magdalenefjorden with a burial ground and whale blubber oven. A fenced-in areas surrounds the areas where traffic is prohibited.
Ytre Norskøya, Likneset and Ebeltofthamna in North-West Spitsbergen National Park
Lægerneset in South Spitsbergen National Park
Haudegen in North-East Svalbard Nature Reserve
Habenichtbukta, Zieglerøya/Delitschøya/Spekkholmen and parts of Halvmåneøya in South-East Svalbard Nature Reserve
A map over these sites is attached at the right side of this page.
For restrictions limiting the use of snow scooters, please refer to "Motorized traffic" in the box to the right.