The marine eco-system in the waters adjacent to the Norwegian mainland provides for abundant fishing grounds and has made it possible to sustain the scattered and sparsely populated coastal settlements and communities along the entire Norwegian coastline under arctic or sub-arctic conditions over the centuries.
The Norwegian fishing industry is represented by a diversified ocean-going and coastal fleet of approximately 6800 vessels employing close to 13 000 people. In addition the processing industry consists of approximately 700 units and a fish farming industry which annually produces around 1 000 000 tonnes, mainly salmon. All in all the fishing industry provides direct employment for between 30 000 and 40 000 people. The fishing industry forms a basic network of regional economic activities heavily dependent upon the sustainable and rational management of the available marine resources. Thus, the fishing industry is of vital regional and national importance to Norway.
Management of fishery resources
An important element of a sustainable management policy is to provide for basic biological data and research on fish stocks and the eco-system of the marine environment, as well as ensuring that catches are based on the best scientific recommendations available. Total Norwegian catches vary according to annual variations in the size of the major fish stocks, but have traditionally amounted to approximately 2, 5 million tonnes per year. In addition Norway produces approximately 1 000 000 tonnes of farmed fish and shellfish, of which salmon and trout constitutes more than 95 percent.
Norwegian fisheries management measures reflect a system of policies and instruments for the monitoring and regulation of key fish stocks based on established principles for international fisheries management co-operation, of which stringent control and enforcement of quotas and technical measures are important elements. This co-operation entails among other things the management of joint fishery resources in the Barents Sea with the Russian Federation, as well as the management of joint fishery resources in the North Sea and Skagerrak with the European Union. Norway has also bilateral fisheries agreements with Iceland, the Faroe Islands and Greenland and has entered into multilateral agreements concerning the management of Norwegian spring-spawning herring, mackerel and blue whiting. In addition, Norway is an active partner in the Northeast Atlantic Fisheries Commission, the Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization and in other regional and global bodies for the management of living marine resources.
Trade in fish and fish products
Norway is one of the largest exporters of fish and fish products in the world. Seafood exports are valued at more than NOK 44 billion in 2009 (€ 5, 6 bn). The export supplies major markets – around 150 countries – all over the world. The EU market is by far the most important one with a share of around 60 percent. Seafood exports are Norway's third largest export commodity. Salmon and trout exports account for more than half of the export value. Other important categories of fish products are traditional products like dried and salted fish, frozen and filleted fish, and other processed products.
Fisheries policies, including management and commercial aspects. Basic facts and figures, and information booklets on the various aspects of Norwegian fisheries policy in a variety of languages are available from the Ministry of Fisheries & Coastal Affairs in Oslo.
Ministry of Fisheries & Coastal Affairs
P.O. Box 8118 Dep.
Tel: +47 22 24 64 27
Fax: +47 22 24 95 85
Input to and implementation of fisheries policy
Basic information may be obtained from the Directorate of Fisheries in Bergen.
Directorate of Fisheries
P.O. Box 185 Sentrum
Tel: + 47 55 23 80 00
Fax: + 47 55 23 80 90
Fish stock biology and research
Information on current research activities and biological data and information is available from the Marine Research Institute in Bergen.
The Institute of Marine Research
P.O. Box 1870 Nordnes
Tel: +47 55 23 85 00
Fax: +47 55 23 85 31
Marketing and statistics on exports of fish and fish products
The Norwegian Seafood Export Council in Tromsø provides a wide range of information on various export activities.
The Norwegian Seafood Export Council
Tel: + 47 77 60 33 33
Fax: +47 77 68 00 12
For more information, please contact the Mission of Norway to the EU, Counsellors for Fisheries:
Rune Dragset, firstname.lastname@example.org, ph. + 32 (0) 2 238 74 25
Jan Frederik Danielsen, email@example.com, ph.: + 32 (0) 2 238 74 41
(Updated October 2010)