Forward thinking

As a nation with a culture and history so inextricably linked to the sea, protecting our heritage and maintaining our stocks for the future is vital. This is why we take a holistic approach to fisheries management, placing fish, the sea, our people, and our inspiring environment at the very heart of everything we do.            

Our management and monitoring process is based on long-term thinking. This enables us to safeguard our fish stocks – particularly cod – and protect industry practitioners and coastal communities. Every step of our fishing process – from catching to selling – is rigorously managed through quotas and concessions and monitored through surveillance and controls. It’s a process that’s regarded as the best in the world.

The Monitoring Process

Norway’s unique body of knowledge and expertise constitutes one of the largest research and development opportunities for seafood in the world. Through legislation, regulation and controls, we put this research into sustainable practice.        

The outcome? The planet’s most plentiful and thriving supply of quality cod – that’s a fact.

Research

Institute of Marine Research (IMR)
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES)

Magnifying glass

Legislation

Norwegian Parliament

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Regulation

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries
The Directorate of Fisheries
The Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commision
Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs)

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Control

The Directorate of Fisheries
Sales organizations
The Coast Guard
Norwegian Food Safety Authority

Checkmark
A small fishing boat on the sea

Research

Norway’s unique body of knowledge and expertise constitutes one of the largest research and development opportunities for seafood in the world.             

Norway’s research bodies monitor the seas to make sure that resources are harvested in a sustainable manner. They watch for climate change and advise on regulation to protect the ecosystem. They also conduct research into the value of seafood as part of the human diet.            

Through legislation, regulation and controls, we put this research into sustainable practice.            

Industry bodies involved:

The Institute of Marine Research

As Norway’s largest centre of marine science, the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) is vital to our monitoring process. They provide us with expert advice and research on aquaculture and the ecosystems of our cod fishing locations – the Barents Sea, the North Sea, and the Norwegian costal line – as well as the Norwegian Sea.            

Maintaining the health of the sea is fundamental for our thriving fisheries – something that would be more difficult without the IMR’s guidance.

International Council for the Exploration of Sea

The International Council for the Exploration of Sea (ICES) coordinate and promote marine research  on oceanography, the marine environment, the marine ecosystem, and on living marine resource in the North Atlantic.  It is the prime source of scientific advice on the marine ecosystem to governments and international regulatory bodies.

National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research

NIFES is a governmental research institute within fish nutrition, seafood safety and health effects of eating seafood. It provides research on how fish feed affects the health and welfare of fish and what impact it has environmentally. This ensures that we have the best possible basis for sustainable fisheries and aquaculture production.

Legislation

The Marine Resources Act regulates the fishing of living marine resources. The Participation Act regulates who can fish for a living. Together, this legislation seeks to protect both the ecosystem and the livelihoods of everyone involved in the fishing industry.            

Norway introduced a strict ban on discards in 1987. Not only is dumping unwanted stock back into the sea a waste of food, it leads to unrecorded catches and inaccurate statistics, disrupting the basis of scientific assessment. This remains a key difference between the EU Common Fisheries Policy (discarding what you cannot land) and the Norwegian Management System (we must land what we catch).            

  • We are the world leader in adopting measures to reduce fish discards.
  • There are virtually zero cases of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing for cod in our waters.
  • We have stringent controls on both land and at sea for both foreign and Norwegian vessels.
  • Norway has strict rules in place regarding fishing gear.

Regulation

Quota regulations, international fisheries agreements and the regulation of catch sizes – our industry bodies work together to ensure the long-term survival of the Norwegian fishing industry.            

If you want to learn more about Regulation you can find it here.

Control

From the vessels to our processors, every step of our management process ensures we harvest our cod sustainably. For the sake of future generations, our cod fishing industry is rigorously managed through quotas and concessions.            

Our stringent and pioneering management and monitoring process is regarded as the best in the world. For over 20 years, our cod stock has been managed based on the best high-tech scientific advice. It’s a process we continue to evolve so we can continue being the best.            

Managing our catches is crucial. That’s why Norway introduced a ban on discards in 1987.            

This ban is crucial to the efficacy of sustainable management of fishing– not only is dumping unwanted stock back into the sea a waste of food, it means unrecorded catches and inaccurate statistics which disrupt the basis for scientific assessment of stocks.            

This remains the main difference between the EU Common Fisheries Policy (they have to discard what they can’t land) and the Norwegian Management System (we have to land what we catch).            

As a result:            

  • We are the world leader in adopting measures to reduce fish discards.
  • Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing for cod is virtually zero.
  • We have stringent control both on land and at sea for both foreign and Norwegian vessels.
  • There is a strict enforcement of rules regarding fishing gear.

Our surveillance and control programmes have been set up and are operated throughout the seafood chain. Each organisation that has a part to play in the production and supply of Norwegian cod cooperates to create the surveillance system, leading us to risk management which ensures seafood safety and protects consumer interests.            

The level of control may be challenging and time-consuming, but our fishing industry and our heritage deserve nothing less.

The Directorate of Fisheries

The Directorate of Fisheries monitors and controls the whole value chain through activities like quayside and sales inspections, post landing audits and inspections at sea. The main focus is quota control and ensuring fishing activities are in compliance with prevailing regulations. In addition the Directorate is responsible for aquaculture management and is in charge of aquaculture control functions.

Sales organisations

Norges Råfisklag logo
SUROFI logo
Rogaland Fiskesalgslag logo
Vest-Norges Fiskesalslag logo
Skagerrakfisk logo

The sales organisations are owned by the fishermen of Norway. Their main objective is to provide clear, fair and controlled conditions in regard to fishing and trading catches between fishermen and buyers. They work under the authority of the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries and it is prohibited to sell marine fish in Norway outside of the sales organisations.

The Coast Guard

The Coast Guard is responsible for exercising resource control both of the Norwegian and foreign ocean-going fishing fleet. It conducts operative control of fishery activity through resource control, quota control, vessel inspections, customs control and general monitoring of the Norwegian waters.