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Photo: Institute of Marine Research.Photo: Institute of Marine Research

Sustainable harvesting

13.03.2010 // Resource control in Norway is directed at the entire chain, from the point in time when the fish is caught in the sea, through its storage and sale and to its export abroad. The dominant goal of marine resource management is to aid a sound fisheries policy founded on long-term thinking, profitability and sustainable harvesting of marine life.

There are three main approaches to attaining this goal. In the first place, catch capacity must be adapted to the resource basis. In the second place, quotas and total catch must be determined on the basis of the best scientific advice available at any given time. The third approach is resource control, whose primary task is to provide information on the actual catch of all fish and marine mammals within the jurisdiction of Norwegian authorities. This is conducted via registration schemes and inspection, and through facilitating submission to current fisheries regulations. 


Areas of responsibility

It is the responsibility of The Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs to secure that Norwegian and foreign fishing in waters under the jurisdiction of Norway – in the Norwegian Exclusive Economic Zone, in the fisheries zone around Jan Mayen and in the fisheries protection zone around Svalbard – is carried out in conformity with Norwegian legislation and regulations. The Directorate of Fisheries, the Coast Guard and the sales associations have the responsibility for performing the inspection work. The Customs and Tax Services are important partners. 

The Directorate of Fisheries' responsibility for resource control embraces various tasks such as quayside inspection, sales inspection, post landing audit, inspectors at sea, satellite surveillance, the Fishing-Grounds Surveillance Service and general processing. The Directorate of Fisheries also has responsibility for quota control of both foreign and Norwegian vessels,

Foreign authorities have, by agreement, the control responsibility when Norwegian vessels unload their catches abroad. The collaborating states exchange information in this area. Directorate of Fisheries' seven regional offices, in collaboration with the Coast Guard, have the capitol responsibility for resource control at sea and undertake the  practical implementation of the control work.


The sales association register all fish sold in Norway

The sales associations have exclusive rights to first-hand sale of fish, and thereby the responsibility for recording all fish sold in Norway. They pass on all information to The Directorate of Fisheries, and this information forms the basis for quota control and fisheries statistics. Besides document control, the sales organisations perform a certain amount of quayside inspection. 


The role of the inspectors

An important part of the control takes place at sea during the fishing operations. In this phase it is ensured that fishing is conducted with the right gear, at the right time and in the right area. The composition of the catch is also inspected, and it is ensured that catches are not being discarded. There are inspectors stationed on board all vessels hunting marine mammals (seal and whale) throughout their operations. In certain fisheries, moreover, The Directorate of Fisheries has a system of inspectors stationed on board fishing vessels for a short or a long period. There is extensive fishing of certain species in Norwegian territorial water, that is, within four nautical miles of the coast; inspection vessels from The Directorate of Fisheries maintain a presence on these fishing-grounds.


Catch control on shore

On the shoreward side there is, as well as physical inspection of the catch that is landed and stored, an extensive control via the contract-note system. In this way, important information on quantity, species and fishing grounds etc. is registered and counted against the individual quotas. More extensive document control of companies that sell or receive fish belongs under the control of resource harvesting.

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