Protect our oceans



Contribute to the long-term sustainability and improvements of global fish resources.

Our operations within fisheries are based on fish as a natural resource. We therefore rely on proper management of the various species in the sea. Limitations on the harvest volumes of individual fish stocks come from Mother Nature herself. Information on fishing volumes (catch statistics), monitoring of fish stocks and estimates provided by researchers from numerous countries all form the basis for the fishing quotas established.


The MSC recognizes well-managed and  sustainable fisheries through a certification programe.  The MSC sets principles and criteria for sustainable  fisheries which are used by a third party and voluntary  certification programe.

These principles are:

  • The maintenance and re-establishment of healthy populations of targeted species
  • The maintenance of the integrity of ecosystems
  • The development and maintenance of effective fisheries management systems, taking into account all relevant biological, technological,  economic, social, environmental and commercial 

Lerøy’s strategy is to support well-managed and sustainable fisheries and increase the share of certified fish. 

MSC-certification of cod & halibut within 12 nautical miles-

The cod (Skrei) mainly lives its life out in the Barents Sea, and migrate to the coast to spawn in the winter. Skrei fishing takes place mainly from January to April along the coast of northern Norway; from Lofoten and up to Finnmark.

Additionally there is a coastal cod/haddock stock in Norway which is similar to the Skrei in appearance (but is genetically different). The coastal cod/haddock is located along the Norwegian coast all year round. During the Skrei catch season a number of coastal cod/haddock are caught as a bycatch. An important question raised by the MSC concerns the sustainability of the coastal cod/Haddock 

There is no doubt that the Skrei cod stock is sustainably managed. But the coastal cod/haddock is more in doubt and will be up for MSC consideration in April 26th 2021.  

Lerøy assume and prepares for the eventuality that the MSC certification of cod/haddock caught within 12 nautical miles limit will be cancelled. Due to the fact that the majority of the MSC certified cod/haddock are caught within this zone, the majority of the MSC certified cod/haddock will lose certification from April 26th 2021 . Of course, cod/haddock caught outside of the 12 mile limit retains MSC certification and Lerøy with the integrated trawl fleet of Havfisk, will continue to catch and process MSC certified cod and haddock. The impact of losing certification will be important for the local coastal fleet and particularly from 2022.  

There is considerable effort from the Norwegian fisheries management authorities to address the management of the coastal cod fishery. The MSC application is forwarded and hopefully a new certification within 12 mile limit will be issued before 2022.  

Lerøy with its integrated value chain will be less affected by the fact that cod and haddock within 12 nautical miles will not receive an extended MSC certificate. Our value chain will be able to deliver MSC certified fish also after 26th of April. Several of our purchasing and production facilities are located in Finnmark, the most northern part of Norway that are closest to the fishing banks outside 12 nautical miles. They are all suited to buy fresh fish caught outside of 12 nautical miles from both external Lerøy partners as well as fresh and frozen fish from our own trawler fleet in Lerøy Havfisk.  


Main goal: Increase the share of MSC certified fish to 93 % by 2022

Year MSC certified %
2017 92%
2018 90%
2019 91%
2020 86%


In 2020 we obtained 5% less share of MSC certified fish then 2019. This is mainly because of lower catch volumes of cod, saith and haddock. We still believe in a high catch share of MSC certified fish in 2021 and will obtain the long term goal of 93% by 2022. Lerøy Havfisk will not negative be affected that the MSC certificate for cod and haddock within the 12 nm will not be prolonged.


Lerøy is a substantial player within the wild catch and whitefish industry. We depend on sustainable management of marine natural resources and maintenance of clean and productive marine areas. In our main operating area, more than 90% of all Norwegian wild fish landed annually are certified as sustainable according to MSC-certified sustainable fisheries.

Research and advice from the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) shall help ensure that future generations are able to harvest the major assets in the sea and along the coast.

One of the vessels owned by our subsidiary Lerøy Havfisk is part of the Institute of Marine Research's reference fleet. As such, we play a part in collecting a significant amount of biological data utilised in the research into fish stocks. Norway enters into negotiations with other countries when total fishing quotas are to be established. The final decisions regarding the total quotas for fishing different species are made on the basis of stock assessments and advice on quotas from ICES.

More than 90% of the fish resources harvested by Norway are managed in cooperation with other countries. The national quotas in Norway are discussed by the various stakeholders during regulation meetings, for which the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries is responsible. These regulation meetings are held twice a year. Subsequent to the discussions at these meetings, the Directorate of Fisheries issues a proposal for regulation of fisheries to the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. The Ministry issues provisions regarding the distribution of quotas to Norwegian fishing vessels and provisions regarding fisheries in the form of annual regulations for each species of fish.

Our operations are based on public permits for the harvesting of Norwegian fish resources. The entitlement provided by these permits entails statutory obligations in terms of activity and delivery, as well as a responsibility to fish sustainably. It is our aim to be a “proud custodian”, and we have taken an active approach to ensuring full compliance with all regulations involving fisheries. 

We manage our natural resources on behalf of society as a whole, and therefore accept a particular responsibility for ensuring sustainable operations, leaving behind the smallest possible environmental footprint. The Group monitors all employees and management to ensure compliance with prevailing regulations and quota provisions. The Group has also cooperated with authorities, trade associations and nongovernmental organisations to help counteract illegal fishing, thereby safeguarding resources for future generations.

In 2016, Lerøy Havfisk and the other parties involved in the Norwegian trawling industry entered into the Arktisavtalen (Industry Group Agreement on cod fisheries in the northern part of the North-East Atlantic). As a result of the melting ice sheet around the North Pole and so-called new areas becoming accessible, a map has been prepared showing those regions traditionally fished. The parties to the agreement committed to not fish in waters north of these areas until the seabed had been charted andit had been established that fishing would not cause permanent damage to vulnerable benthic biotopes. In 2019 this agreement was replaced with new Norwegian government regulations to the same effect.

The regulations were implemented following open dialog between Government, industry and NGOs. In addition to the vast areas protected under the new regulations, there are 19 areas along coastal Norway that are protected against bottom trawling to protect coral and other benthic organisms. Additionally, trawlers are not allowed to fish inside of 12 nautical miles along the entire Norwegian coast, with the exception of small trawlers that have a 6 mile limit. Around all of the Svalbard islands there is a 12 mile limit.

Combined with a more comprehensive nature reserve where fishing is prohibited and a general prohibition on fishing in waters that are shallower than 100 metres around Svalbard, the protected area covers 70.000 square kilometres, not including all before mentioned new protected areas.

The minimum water depth of 100 metres protects food sources for animals that live on shore and birds that dive for food close to the coast. A number of other regulatory measures also apply,including a prohibition on fishing deeper than 1.000 metres to protect potentially vulnerable benthic biotopes in these areas.

Ghost fishing

Parts of the fishing gear used by Lerøy Havfisk consist of plastic and plastic components. Lost fishing gear left on the seabed spoils the sea and destroys seafood caught in it. Ever since the early 1980s, the Directorate of Fisheries has carried out annual clean-ups along the Norwegian coastline, to remove fishing gear from the seabed – an important measure to avoid fish and shellfish getting caught, or "ghost fishing" as it is called. Furthermore, this represents general marine pollution.

For the most part lost fishing gear or "ghost fishing" is represented by gill-nets, a fishing gear not used by the Lerøy Havfisk fleet. Fortunately, it is not often that Lerøy Havfisk loses its fishing gear, but it has happened. Marine fisheries, including Lerøy Havfisk, are required by the Exercise Regulations to report lost gear to the Norwegian Coast Guard, and in recent years reporting has been further simplified through functions in the electronic catch log.

Lerøy Havfisk will continue to spend time searching for any lost fishing gear, and we most often succeed in finding and recovering lost fishing gear. This in turn represents reduced consumption, and will at all times be included as part of the company's action plan for reduced plastic consumption (provided that fisheries, ropes, etc. contain plastic and plastic components).

In addition to production of Lump Sucker, the Group also buys wrasse from local fishermen. As part of our sustainability efforts, we have decided to demand two things from fishermen who supply Lump Sucker to us. 

  • The thread used in the fish traps must be made of decomposable material.
  • Lost equipment must be reported to the Directorate of Fisheries.

Impact on red-list species and  protected habitats

As a general rule, our activities shall not impact on any other species or protected habitats. We only fish  species that are properly managed and seek to use  the equipment that is best for different species and habitats at all times. Despite this, we may experience unintentional by-catches. These are managed, recorded, reported and delivered to shore.

In aquaculture, we have a special responsibility for wild salmon as it lives naturally in Norwegian rivers.  We participate in various interest groups working to safeguard the wild salmon in Norway.

Our different sites have a predator management system and keep records and report risk events, e.g.,  holes, infrastructure issues, handling errors, reporting and follow up of escape events.