This system can be referred to as a regulatory chain. The chain has no set start or finish, but can rather be seen as a continuous process. The timeframe of the regulatory chain is approximately one calendar year.
First, scientific research of the fish stocks is crucial in order to ensure that the quota allocation complies with the overarching principles of the Norwegian resource management regime. The International Council of the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) and others research institutions provide such scientific advice.
About 90 per cent of Norway’s fish stocks are shared with other states, and bilateral or multilateral negotiations therefore takes place in order to set quotas.
After the quotas have been negotiated with the relevant states, the Directorate of Fisheries makes a proposal regarding the regulations for the upcoming year.
This proposal includes:
- when to start and stop the fishing
- technical regulations
- size of by-catch
- criteria’s for participating in various fisheries
This is then presented to stakeholders in an open meeting held in late November or early December. A broad range of participants attend this open meeting – including representatives from the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association, Federation of Norwegian Fishing Industries, the Norwegian Seamen’s Union, The Norwegian Food and Allied Workers’ Union, The Sami Parliament, environmental NGOs, the regional counties, as well as recreational fishermen.
After this meeting, the Directorate of Fisheries recommends next year’s fisheries regulations to the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs. The Ministry bases its final decision on outcomes from the quota negotiations with other states, discussions from the open meeting, the recommendation from the Directorate of Fisheries, as well as input from various fisheries industry organisations.
It does occur that some the fishermen or vessel groups disagree with the regulations set by the Ministry. If this happens, more meetings and discussions take place. In general, outstanding issues are resolved at this stage.
The regulations are normally valid for one calendar year at a time. It is common, however, that some adjustments to the regulations take place during the year. One such adjustment could be changes in by-catch regulations.
It is important to note that the experiences from previous year’s fishing are of great importance in the decision process for the following year. One reason for this is to ensure predictability and stability for the fishing fleet. In order to exchange views on and evaluate the current fishing year, another open meeting is held in early summer.