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Photo: The Norwegian Seafood Export Council.Photo: The Norwegian Seafood Export Council


11.10.2010 // The Participation Act of 1999 regulates who can fish for a living. A vessel may not be used for commercial fishing unless a commercial licence has been issued. Only Norwegian citizens and active fishermen can be issued a commercial licence.

These are important principles in Norwegian fisheries policy and serve in part to ensure that the returns on the fisheries activities go to the active fishermen in the coastal communities. However, a commercial licence alone is not sufficient, as most of the fisheries have limited entry.

Limited entry is necessary in order to ensure a stable resource basis for those engaged in the industry and to ensure profitability and future investments in the fishing fleet. However, some fisheries remain open to new entrants who fulfil certain basic requirements. Given that the fish resources belong to Norwegian society as a whole, the authorities have the flexibility to change shares and regulation of fish stocks.

Participation is limited by annual permits (coastal fleet) and licences (ocean going fleet) in combination with individual vessel quotas (IVQ). The overall Norwegian fish quotas are allocated to different vessel groups and the quotas are then distributed amongst the vessels holding the necessary licences to participate in the groups. The authorities can withdraw permits and licences if conditions are not met, and can also allocate new licences and permits.

Licences and annual permits are not tradable, as they are issued to and associated with a given vessel.  When vessels are traded, the licence and annual permit follow the vessel when permission has been granted – with certain restrictions - by the authorities.

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