More Norwegian pelagic boats are turning their attention to the sandeel fishery in week 15 of 2023 norway regulation industrial fishing

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries in Norway has adopted a new regulation on the sampling of catches for industrial fishing. Photo: Norges Sildesalgslag

The Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries has adopted a new regulation on the sampling of catches for the production of fishmeal and fish oil.

The regulation aims to provide better control over raw materials harvested and landed for the production of fishmeal and fish oil.

“We are now implementing a regulatory framework that ensures catches harvested for industrial purposes are registered in a proper manner. This will provide us with a better knowledge base for fisheries management in the North Sea, and better control to ensure that industrial fishing is in line with quota restrictions and other regulations. The regulations are also important for the fishmeal and oil industry to be able to demonstrate to their customers that the raw material they use is legally harvested from sustainably managed stocks,” says Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Bjørnar Skjæran.

In recent years, industrial catches have accounted for between 15 and 25 percent of the total annual landed volume of wild-caught fish in Norway. Much of the industrial fishing takes place in the North Sea, and key species caught in this area are showing a declining trend. Both the industry and the authorities have long recognized the need for better regulations to ensure better documentation of the reported catch composition in these landings.

The main rule for catch registration is that all fish are sorted and then weighed by species continuously upon landing. This rule does not fit well for industrial landings, where the catches consist of large volumes of mixed catches of various species. Therefore, systematic sampling must be used instead to determine the catch’s species and size composition. The new regulations will ensure that representative samples of the catch are taken using procedures that ensure the samples provide an approximately accurate picture of the catch composition.

The requirements now established are harmonized with similar requirements in Denmark and will ensure fair competition conditions. As in Denmark, fish receiving facilities may use an independent third party to carry out the sampling.

There will be no requirement for the facilities to have a sorting mechanism to separate fish larger than 45 cm. This would have been a specific Norwegian requirement with a significant cost for the industry. Instead, the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries will be tasked with investigating alternative solutions to the problem of large fish in certain industrial landings, mainly due to vessels exempt from using sorting grids not adhering to the exemption conditions.

The regulation will come into effect on January 1, 2024. Enforcement during the introductory period will be adjusted as needed in dialogue with the industry.

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