Why our fleet is important

The fishing and harvest of cod has been vital to both working life and development along the Norwegian coastline for centuries. Our goal has always been to create an enviable and modern fishing fleet that enables us to fish in a way that's sustainable.

Our fleet is extensive, both in regards to size and the type of fishing gear we use. With both deep sea vessels and a large number of smaller coastal vessels, we can harvest a range of seafood, including our cod.

A sizeable fleet

6309 fishing vessels

A skilled workforce

9,924 people working full-time in the fishing industry

A large employer

2,356 people working part-time in the fishing industry

Source: 2010, Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries

The fishing fleet

Our sophisticated fleet allows us to ensure that, from the moment the fish is harvested from the ocean up until the time it reaches consumers all over the world, there is an emphasis on quality.


The sea fishing fleet comprises vessels with a cargo hold of more than 500m3. These include cod trawlers, ring-net vessels and industrial trawlers.


Coastal fishing vessels have a cargo hold of less than 500m3. Previously the definition of a coastal fleet vessel was one of less than 28m.

Active fishing gear: Purse-seine, trawl net, and danish seine
Passive fishing gear: Long line, net, and hand-line


The gear must approach the fish to make a catch. With the exception of Danish seine, fishermen who wish to use active fishing gear must obtain special concessions. This makes it illegal in fishing as a leisure pursuit.


The fish must approach the fishing gear to be caught. This is a conventional catch method, hence the vessels that fish in this way are called conventional fishing vessels.

Purse seine

Ring net is a net wall that the vessel sets around the shoal of fish. This is drawn shut at the bottom and the trapped shoal is hauled or pumped on board.

Trawl net

Trawling uses a large bag that is held open by trawler doors while the vessel drags it through the water. This is a vital fishing method for the Norwegian cod fisheries.

Danish seine

Something between trawl and net fishing. Danish seine vessels set a large bag around the fish, dragging it a short distance through the water before hauling it on board.

Long line

A long line consists of a main line affixed at intervals with a series of short lines, known as snoods. These are approximately half a metre in length with a baited hook at the end.


Net fishing utilises a net wall with a float line along the top and a lead line along the bottom, allowing the net to stand vertical in the sea.

Hand line

A trolling line, or juksa, is a fishing line with a small number of hooks. It’s used to fish vertically in the water column.


Our fisheries use a range of catch methods, from trawling to hand-line. Again, sustainability is key.

In a typical year, a Norwegian cod catch is made up predominantly of trawling and gill net methods.

Planning for the future

The quotas that have been put in place are recommended by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea – a leading international research body which assesses our stocks and helps us plan for the future. They enable us to fish sustainably, ensuring the future of our thriving cod stock.

Incentivising sustainability

The sales organisations self-regulate to maintain fair but competitive terms in the market. Importantly, they guarantee fishermen a minimum price for the catch.

Sustainable fishing is rewarded, with premiums paid against the landing of well-handled and high quality fish.

As quotas are vital to the sustainability of our seafood industry, fisherman who exceed their quota are penalised. They will only receive 20% of the value of the over-quota fish.

However, as we have a zero waste policy, all fish that is landed is sold in the market. Excess profit (after the fisherman receives his 20%) is put back into policing fisheries.

This regulation ensures that there is no incentive for fishermen to exceed their quotas.