This fishing vessel loaded with cod at Røst in Lofoten illustrates the fantastic season. (Photo: Gøran Greger)
The combination of large amounts of Northeast Arctic cod (Norwegian: skrei, “the wanderer”) and high prices, make coastal fishermen from Central and Northern Norway optimistic about the future. So far this year, it is caught 22,000 tons more than last year.
Normally the cod fishing season should have come to an end, but several landing stations still keep open.
Out of a total of 150,000 tons so far this year, 79,000 tons have been caught in Lofoten and Vesterålen.
Marine researchers have calculated that the Northeast Arctic cod stock makes up about 2000 million tons of fish and that only 20 to 35 percent are caught.
The Valuable Skrei
The spawning grounds of skrei is reaching from Lopphavet, a stretch of open sea between Troms and Finnmark in Northern Norway, to Trøndelag in Central Norway, but the most important fishing grounds are located in the waters off the Lofoten archipelago.
In March and April, about forty percent of the Northeast Arctic cod spawns around the archipelago where hundreds of fishing vessels are waiting for the valuable commodity.
Thor News have spoken to several coastal fishermen, and everyone agree (although most are modest and never use big words): After a few tough years, this year’s cod fishing is the best they can remember, which means that they dare to be optimistic and invest in the future.
Clipfish and Stockfish
Cod has always been very important to Northern Norway, and a large share is exported as two exclusive dried products: Cured salt cod, clipfish (klippfisk) and unsalted stockfish (tørrfisk).
11. August 1922: Drying of clipfish at Nordlandet in Kristiansund. (Photo: Anders Beer Wilse /National Library of Norway)
In the Viking age, stockfish was exported to the Viking center of York in England and countries in southern Europe. Today, Nigeria and Italy are the biggest markets for stockfish, while the clipfish ends up in bacalao pots in Portugal and Brazil.
- See also: Stockfish from Lofoten Honored in Italy
Text by: Thor Lanesskog, ThorNews