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Photo: Directory of Fisheries.Photo: Directory of Fisheries

Minimum sizes for salt water fish

05.05.2011 // Commercial fishers as well as foreign tourists and Norwegians who engage in recreational sea fishing in Norway, are required to comply with the minimum fish sizes for different species.

Fish under the minimum size must be carefully freed from the gear and released into the sea again.

Inshore fisheries resources are under pressure, and we need to have a great common effort to ensure that future generations too will be able to enjoy the pleasure of recreational fishing in Norway.

The Ministry of fisheries and coastal affairs has therefore from January 2010 introduced regulations requiring everyone who engages in sea fishing in Norway to comply with the minimum size table (see the table at the bottom of this article). The aim is that more small-sized fish shall grow big enough to reproduce.

If an undersized fish is caught, it must be carefully freed from the fishing gear and released into the sea again. The exception  is if the fish is dead or will obviously not survive.

Fishing for undersized fish is not sustainable. All fishers must organise their fishing so as to avoid catching fish under the minimum size. If an angler or fisherman notices that he is catching a lot of undersized fish, the size of hook  should be increased or he should move to another fishing place.

Deliberate catch of undersized fish will be subject to penalties. However, the main point of the new regulations is not to punish people. The point is to change people’s fishing behaviour so that more fish are given the chance to grow large.

Sea fishing in Norway is free if some simple rules are followed

The fish in the sea belong to the community, and we aim to secure fish stocks for the future. Everyone is welcome to fish free of charge in the sea outside Norway as long as they follow some simple rules:

  • Respect the minimum size table.
  • Foreign tourists may use hand-held gear to fish in the sea.
  • It is permitted to take out of the country up to 15 kg of fish fillets per person and one (whole) trophy fish.
  • Fishing within 100 metres of fish farms is not permitted and hold distance from other moored fishing equipments.
  • Foreign tourists are not permitted to sell their catch.

Minimum size

The following is a list of minimum sizes for the species most relevant for tourists (There is no minimum size for saithe, mackerel, ling, pollack or wolffish). (Fish are measured from the tip of the snout to the end of the tail fin.)

The minimum size table


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