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.
The green choice
Environmentally aware consumers can happily serve Norwegian seafood for dinner. Compared with other foods, such as beef or chicken, the landing of herring and mackerel has a much lower carbon footprint.
Carbon footprints and energy use of Norwegian seafood and European meat products
This graph shows the difference in carbon footprint between Norwegian seafood and European meat products as the product travels through the supply chain (per kilo of edible product delivered to the wholesaler).
The UN recently reported on the management policies of the world’s fisheries nations and named Norway as a leader and pioneer on environmental issues. We’re also world leaders in reducing discards, with an outright ban on discards for 18 different species of fish.
Norway’s herring fisheries have been evaluated and certified ‘sustainable’ by the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council). The MSC is a certification and eco-labelling programme for sustainable seafood.
Our long-term strategy
Our management and monitoring process is based on long-term thinking. This enables us to safeguard our fish stocks 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. Through this, we hope that future generations will benefit from the resources we’ve been so fortunate to enjoy.
Norwegian spring spawning herring stocks are managed through cooperation between all relevant countries - Norway, Russia, the Faeroe Islands, Iceland and the EU. The agreements are part of a long-term strategy and ensure that catches only take place within a set biological period (the premium catch period). This regulation ensures that people will be able to enjoy Norwegian spring spawning herring for years to come.
Our relationship with the sea is a partnership – one that is crucial to the health of the nation economically, environmentally, and socially.
We assess both the economic value our seafood industry creates and the impact the industry has on Norway’s wider economic environment. The seafood industry is economically independent, and at this moment in time, it’s Norway’s second largest export industry.
For many years Norway has been one of the leading nations in fisheries and aquaculture management. We work tirelessly to improve our resource management system, ensuring our practises are sustainable and have a positive impact on the environment.
The seafood industry is the backbone of coastal Norway. It’s of vital importance to settlement and employment.
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.
Institute of Marine Research (IMR)
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries
The Directorate of Fisheries
The Joint Norwegian-Russian Fisheries Commision
Regional Fisheries Management Organisations (RFMOs)
The Directorate of Fisheries
The Coast Guard
Norwegian Food Safety Authority
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.
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 various fishing locations – the Barents Sea, the North Sea, the Norwegian costal line and 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.
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 herring 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.
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.
Our surveillance and control programmes have been set up and are operated throughout the seafood chain. Each organisation involved in the production and supply of Norwegian herring cooperates to create the surveillance system. This ensures seafood safety and protects our customers’ interests. This level of control may be challenging and time-consuming, but we believe that the fishing industry, which holds such importance within our culture, deserves 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.
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.