The Norwegian fishing industry currently supplies seafood to consumers in more than 130 countries worldwide. This is healthy food, produced in a cold ocean environment. The fishing and aquaculture industry is one of Norway’s foremost export industries and is vital for settlement and activities along the Norwegian coast.

It provides employment in finishing, aquaculture and the fishing industry, and has widespread effects on trade and industry as well as on research and development.Norway controls some of the world’s most productive marine environments, with excellent conditions for conducting environmentally friendly aquaculture.

Norway places great emphasis on gaining knowledge of fish resources to ensure a sustainable management.Consumers must have confidence in Norwegian seafood. Food safety throughout the entire production chain is a primary focus, and the levels of foreign substances are documented.

The consumer must be able to know with certainty that Norwegian seafood is safe and healthy.

Facts and opportunities

Norway literally has a sea of opportunities. The rich resources of its fjords and seas have played an important part in the economies of Norway’s coastal regions and, if they are to be maintained for the future, it is important to exploit them in a way that both safeguards marine diversity and results in the desired value creation.

Various important and profitable activities are linked to the sea, including fish farming, biotechnology, high quality products, and logistics. Norway is a high-cost country, and will continue to be so for the foreseeable future. Accordingly, more expertise must be built into the processes and products that Norway develops, to secure higher prices.Norway’s coastline, including its islands and fjords, stretches some 57 000 kilometres.

By comparison, the earth’s circumference at the equator is 40 000 kilometres. Norway’s long coastline and seas provide it with catches of between 2.5 and 3 million tonnes of fish per year. There is little potential for increasing catches in the short term. There are about 10 000 registered fishing vessels in Norway, of which 1 000 are in year-round operation.

About 800 facilities are engaged in catch-based aquaculture and the reception and processing of wild fish.Norway is Europe’s largest supplier of fish and fish products. In the course of the last 10 years, the landed export value has doubled to over NOK 30 billion.

Ninety-five per cent of what is produced is exported, in the form of over 2 000 different products, to around 150 countries. The industry employs about 30 000 people, of whom 14 000 work in fishing, 6 000 in fish farming, and 10 000 in processing.

There are about 800 reception and processing facilities, and about 500 certified exporters, who represent the sales side of the industry.About 600 000 tonnes of farmed fish and shellfish are produced annually in Norway, and production is increasing. Production is carried on along the whole of Norway’s coast.

About 1 300 concessions have been issued for fish farming, and about 800 of these are for farming salmon and trout. There are around 100 slaughter/packing facilities, and a significant feed industry has been developed. New farmed species are constantly being introduced to commercial production.

Norway is a world leader in farmed species like Atlantic cod, Atlantic halibut and spotted wolf-fish.


Norwegian seafood has an extremely good reputation all over the world. Spring cod is probably the most well-known fish after farmed Norwegian salmon. It is caught in the ice-cold waters off the coast of Northern Norway, and has become a very popular ingredient with famous chefs around the world.

Other popular fish and shellfish species include herring, mackerel, many types of whitefish, prawns, and crabs. Norway’s fisheries are operated on a sustainable basis, with a very modern fishing fleet and knowledge-based resource management. Norwegian seafood is safe to eat, and is an excellent source of easily digestible protein, vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids.

Seafood industry

The Norwegian seafood  industry is globally leading in several areas. The following factors contribute to making the industry globally leading:

  • A knowledge base which is internationally leading when public research and higher education institutions and government administration are included.
  • Technologically leading suppliers in aquaculture and fisheries.
  • Large R&D capacity compared with other countries in terms of research institutions, researchers and R&D budgets.
  • Internationally leading public management of fisheries and aquaculture in terms of competence, design of regulations and ability to implement regulations and other measures.
  • Internationally leading equity financing of the seafood industry, with Oslo as the leading stock exchange for seafood companies.
  • Consolidation into internationally leading companies with substantial internal human and financial capital, and potential to develop internal capacities related to R&D and innovation.
  • Subsidiaries in other countries in supplier industry and aquaculture which provides access to foreign knowledge workers, R&D institutions etc.

Within the seafood industry the salmon aquaculture value chain is leading the way. It is the value chain where Norway has the strongest position in terms of human capital, knowledge base, technologies, financing of operations and R&D, and international ownership.

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