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.