We will never overfish

We know how lucky we are to have this coastline right on our doorstep. The cold, clear waters that surround our country are teeming with life, and some of our largest cities have been built on this valuable resource. But with good fortune comes great responsibility and it’s our role to ensure that we protect our stocks for future generations.

Annual fishing quotas

There are two types of herring we catch here in Norway – Norwegian spring spawning herring and North Sea herring. Annual quotas adapt in tune with stock levels and are decided through a process that involves international negotiations and recommendations from the Regulatory Council, Norwegian Fisheries Directorate and other organisations.

As you can see, the annual catch quotas for both types of herring are strictly controlled.

Norwegian spring spawning herring

Chart showing quotas for Norwegian spring-spawning herring 2006-2016

North Sea herring

Chart showing quotas for North Sea herring 2006-2016

The 2016 Norwegian quota for spring spawning herring is 193,294 tonnes, and the North Sea herring quota is 152,512 tonnes. The distribution of these quotas is determined by the size of the vessel and the type of fishing gear it uses.

Waste not, want not

Our quotas are enforced with a simple rule: once a quota has been reached, fishing stops.

The Norwegian total allowable catches (TAC) are split into groups for the different vessel types. These percentages are based on historical fees, but are open to revisions – the most recent of which was in 2007.


Individual Vessel Quota (IVQ)
IVQs are fixed for each vessel with a licence or annual permit and this guarantees them a fixed percentage of the group quota.

Maximum Quota
Applies to coastal vessels in open access fisheries where the size and efficiency of vessels varies. If the group quota is reached, fishing is stopped, regardless of whether each vessel has reached its maximum quota.

Transferring or sharing quotas

In an attempt to prevent our fleets from overreaching their capacity, we allow for some quotas to be transferred between vessels.


Unit Quota System (UQS)
This system is for smaller vessels. The owner of two vessels can transfer the quota of one vessel to another. This enables them to fish the entire quota on one vessel for a period, or part of the quota for an unlimited period, on the condition that the other vessel is scrapped.

Structural Quota System (SQS)
Introduced in 2004 for larger coastal vessels, this quota also allows the owner of two vessels to transfer the quota of one vessel to another.

Quota Exchange System (QES)
The QES allows for the collaboration of two vessel owners, who can fish both quotas on one vessel for a limited period. This agreement became policy in 2005 when deep-sea fishing vessels became part of the QES system.

Norway has a long tradition of managing fisheries in harmony with the environment.