Fisheries Management

Responsible Fisheries Management

Discover how Norway created the most sustainable fishing industry on the planet. 

Taking responsibility for the future of our fish

Safeguarding our stocks takes strict controls, advanced environmental measures and an in-depth knowledge of the species we are protecting. In Norway, this is managed by the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Norwegian Institute of Marine Research and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES).

Statistics are gathered based on the species, age number, and weight of the fish. These numbers are then used to design specific management plans to protect the stocks going forward.

Safe biological limits

If the fish stocks are deemed healthy, they are classed as being within safe biological limits—meaning there is enough of the species at the right age to reproduce. Managing fishing areas that have been classified as within ‘safe biological limits’ is very important, as it enables us to maintain higher fishing levels while ensuring the future of our stocks.

If a stock is deemed ‘beyond safe biological limits’ it can be corrected, but only if appropriate action is taken. As often happens when there are many different stakeholders involved, there are also many different opinions! This is why our collaborative approach to stock management is so important.

Quotas: Supporting the long-term management of our seas

As you would expect, the number of fish in Norwegian waters varies from year to year, so it is important to think long-term and account for environmental factors that may affect the fish population.

The technological revolution of the post-war era created fishing fleets so efficient that it became necessary to impose strict regulations to prevent overfishing. In Norway, each fleet is assigned its own quota according to the marine species it is fishing for and the type of equipment it will be using.

To calculate safe fishing quotas, the researchers first determine the minimum number of eggs a species needs to produce before its survival is threatened. We use sonar to keep a close eye on our fish stocks, as well as checking the fish by eye when they’re brought on board.

Thanks to this careful long-term planning, Norway now benefits from one of the richest cod and haddock stocks in the world.