How does Norway protect its marine resources?

by | Jun 1, 2023 | Ukategorisert

The Norwegian coastal ecosystem boasts natural resources that Norway became an international leader in marine aquaculture. To a great extent, a feat accomplished due to the respect and protectiveness the Norwegians bestow to maintain the fragile balance. 

One of the most restrictions is about the minimum size of fish caught. (both professional and non-professional). This is to ensure that the fish reaches spawning size, hereby safeguarding the reproductive capacity of the stock.

If you catch a fish which is smaller than the minimum size, you must carefully free the fish from the fishing tackle then release it back to sea.

How does Norway protect its marine resources? - Image 1.

Norwegian Fishermen Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council

Different ways to measure fish and other seafoods: crab is measured over the largest width of the shell, the length of the fish is measured from the tip of the snout to the end of the outermost rays of the groove, Iceland scallop is measured as the longest length from the shell hinge to the opposite shell edge, large scallops are measured over the longest length of the shell. 

Regulations for commercial and non-commercial fishing 

For commercial fishing: all vessels that are used in commercial fisheries must be entered in the Norwegian Register of Fishing Vessels. Before a vessel can be registered in the Norwegian Register of Fishing Vessels, an application to use the vessel for commercial fisheries (commercial license has been issued) must be submitted and following all general regulations. The Directorate of Fisheries also regularly updates the map of marine areas protected under the Norwegian fisheries law.

How does Norway protect its marine resources? - Image 2.

Brown crab – one of Norway’s famous seafood species. Photo: Norwegian Seafood Council.

Norway has also implemented management measures to maintain habitat for a number of important marine species such as cod, lobster, coral, seaweed, etc… to protect their spawning grounds, fishing restrictions or bans for certain species.

More than 60 closures, amendments and reopenings are undertaken annually in a successful effort to protect juvenile fish that exceed certain limits, and the Barents Sea monitoring program for real time closures of such areas.

For non-commercial fishing activities (such as tourism, fishing experience …), Norway also implemented regulations to ensure the safety of fishermen and to protect the marine environment. 

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Fisherman Andrè Tarberg (Ålesund, Norway) rejoices with his achievement. Photo: Arctic Seafood Norway AS

Some basic regulations for tourists must be allowed  such as: the operator of a fishing boat needs a licence to operate the boat to sea, must use life jackets not allowed to operate if blood alcohol concentration exceeds 0.4milligram/1 litre of breathing air (equivalent to no more than one sip of beer-alcohol), avoid standing on boats…

In addition, all fishing boat charterers need to agree to understand all safety regulations and instructions. Rental companies may also have additional safety guidelines.

When going offshore, they also need to comply with not fishing for protected species, comply with the minimum catch size of species, avoid moving into protected areas, not be allowed to move too close access to fish farms at sea, using only hands and hand tools, and a number of other regulations regarding the removal of caught seafood from Norway.