Givær is a small Norwegian island with fourteen people, some sheep and cows living on an area not much bigger than a couple of football stadiums, far out in the ocean.
These people live on Givær all year round. They make a living from fishing and agriculture. The island is rocky and the fields are not what you would think of as typical agricultural land. Larger islands closer to the mainland with better nature given resources for farming may have given in to industrialization of the business and closed down production. So why does life go on as usual at Givær while others with more resources available move to town? A recent survey suggests it is the human factor: People at Givær know they depend on each other and they know to take care of each other as well as giving each other space and privacy.
Givær is located16 nautical miles west of Bodø Harbour in the North of Norway. The Nilsen family lives on the South side of the island. On the North side, the Sivertsens live in a cluster of houses. This is how it has been for generations. Just across the sound is Burøy, where the five cows graze in the summer.The island is unshielded to the East and when the storms are raging at sea, 8 to 10 meter tall waves can hit land a few hundred meters from where the houses are. Remnants from massive tides push their way through the sound and into the harbour basin, creating an undertow of enormous strength. Despite the harsh weather, Givær has been populated for hundreds of years. In the 18th century, Givær was used as a place of exile for marriage breakers and other criminals. But it was the fishing that made the island valuable. Givær comes from "gigr", the Norse word for unhatched codling. Givær is in the middle of a rich fishing bank. People come from far off to harvest the sea here.
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