Norway supplies seafood to more than 150 countries worldwide and therefore understands that safeguarding the environment and fish stocks for the future is the only way to continue to be a sustainable industry that so many people depend on.
A sustainable seafood industry is able to maintain or increase long-term production without negatively impacting ecosystems. Many industry experts see the Norwegian seafood industry as one of the most sustainable in the world. Here’s why:
Fishing Quotas Ensure that Fisheries Operate at Sustainable Levels
Since 1816, the Norwegian fishing industry has been strictly regulated to ensure a healthy stock is maintained and the process is environmentally sound.
Norway uses two methods to calculate the quotas for different species of fish:
Ecosystem-based management takes into consideration the marine environment as a whole and how the different species influence one another.
Precautionary criteria are conservative estimates that take uncertainty factors into account when calculating the size of stocks.
Local site monitoring is also important to ensure that fishing activities are carried out at the right time, in the right areas and with the right equipment.
At sea, this is the responsibility of the Norwegian Coast Guard, and this activity accounts for about 70% of the Coast Guard’s resources.
On land, the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs carries out regular inspections of fishing vessels arriving in port.
There is a licensing framework in place to ensure all fisheries and individual species are controlled by seasonal quotas.
The fisheries and aquaculture industry work with organizations that support the preservation of the environment and sustainability. For example, the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) and WWF Norway work with each other to stay informed on Norwegian fisheries’ sustainability efforts.
Norway has strict regulations concerning discards of fish because:
It is a waste of resources.
Fish discards are not registered in the fishing statistics, making it more difficult for researchers to calculate the true size of stocks.
The Institute of Marine Research is responsible for monitoring marine resources and also works with researchers in several countries under the guidance of the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) to calculate estimates of stocks.
International Cooperation Is Vital to Norway´s Seafood Industry
About 90% of Norwegian fisheries contain stocks that Norway shares with other nations.
Cooperation is managed through forums such as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) and the North East Atlantic Fisheries Commission (NEAFC), as well as in direct cooperation with important neighboring countries such as Russia.
Norwegian Cod is now considered one of the best-managed cod stocks in the world, with illegal fishing almost eradicated.
Efficient Food Production
Norway is an efficient food producer and is able to support its fast-growing population.
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has pointed to aquaculture´s crucial role in meeting the world’s demand for seafood.
Norway has invested in the capabilities and technologies that make fishing more efficient and a year-round industry, making supply more reliable.
In Norway, the Scientific Committee for Food Safety carries out regular risk assessments and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority recommends measures to be taken and drafts regulations.