The Norway lobster has a pale orange colour and the same body shape as a lobster, but the Norway lobster is smaller and narrower. The Norway lobster has five pairs of legs, and the three in the front have claws. The leading pair has the largest claws. The Norway lobster lives at depths of 20–800 metres, usually on soft bottoms of sandy mud or clay. It digs a hole into the sediment on the soft bottom of 20–30 cm to conceal itself. The kidney-shaped eyes, which have also given the Norway lobster its Latin name (Nephrops norvegicus), are extremely sensitive to light. Therefore it spends a great deal of time in the hole, and is out of the hole mostly at night or in the daytime at great depths where there is little light. At night it hunts food, while in the daytime it hides itself in the hole. The Norway lobster is omnivorous and eats crustaceans, chaetopods, molluscs and carrion. The adult Norway lobsters are territorial and can be up to 15 years old.
The female spawns in the summer and bears the 1000–5000 eggs under her chin for 8–9 months. The egg-bearing females rarely leave their holes during this period. When the eggs hatch, the larvae drift freely in the ocean for up to 60 days before they migrate down to the bottom.
Norway lobster are common in the western Mediterranean sea, in the North East Atlantic from Morocco to Troms and around Iceland and Great Britain Norway lobster in the Norwegian Trough west of Lindesnes and in the Skagerrak and Kattegat straits are regarded as two separate stocks
Norway lobster are fished yea round along the Norwegian coast north to the Lofoten Islands, in the North Sea and in the strait of Skagerrak. The largest share of the catch comes from the strait of Skagerrak. The fishing gear is mainly pots, in addition to some being taken as by-catch in shrimp trawls. Pot fishing for Norway lobster is popular among recreational fishers.
The Norwegian fishery for Norway lobster is regulated by the licensing and methods regulations. In Norway no special quotas are set for the Norway lobster fishery, but an EU quota is set in the Norwegian zone in the North Sea. The minimum length is set at 13 cm, and in the North Sea bottom otter trawls must have a mesh width of 120 mm. In the strait of Skagerrak, a mesh width of 70 mm may be used if a sorting grate is used in the trawl and square meshes in the bunt. For fishing inside 4 nautical miles, sorting grates are not required as long as square meshes are used. Recreational fishers may only fish with up to 20 pots.
The ICES monitors the Norway lobster stocks in the Norwegian Trough and in the straits of Skagerrak and Kattegat, and the researchers have concluded that the stocks are vigorous and sustainably managed.
Food safety/quality control
The Norwegian seafood industry is subject to stringent requirements in order to ensure food safety. The control system consists of several bodies which jointly examine and monitor compliance with the requirements in all stages of the production chain. The bodies which supervise food are the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, the Norwegian National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research (NIFES), the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries and the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries.
Norway lobster must be cooked immediately after being killed to avoid deterioration in quality.
Norway lobster is especially rich in
- Protein, which builds and maintains all the cells in the body.
- Vitamin B12, which is important for producing new cells, including red blood cells, and which can prevent anaemia.
- Selenium, an important element in the enzymes that combat harmful chemical processes in the body.
- Iodine, which regulates the body's metabolism and is important for normal growth and development of the nervous system.
Norway lobster has a sweet, mild taste and a firm, delicate flesh that is white. It can be grilled and boiled, and it is well-suited to a shellfish dish together with shrimps and king crab, for example.