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Three people sea fishing from a fishing boat at Kattfjorden in Northern Norway
Three people sea fishing from a fishing boat at Kattfjorden in Northern Norway
Fishing in Northern Norway.
Photo: Yngve Ask / Visitnorway.com
Fishing in Northern Norway.
Photo: Yngve Ask / Visitnorway.com

Practical sea fishing information

Find the facts you need about Norwegian sea fishing rules and regulations, and what types of fish you might get.

A few basic rules


Fishing permits or other licences are not required either for deep sea fishing or fishing from the shore (although you do need a license for freshwater fishing), provided that you follow a set of simple rules.

  • Do not fish protected species.
  • Respect the minimum fish sizes specified (please see the "Size matters" section below).
  • You are only permitted to use handheld tackle for angling.
  • You must keep a distance of 100 metres or more from the closest fish farm.
  • Foreign visitors are not permitted to sell their catch.
  • If you have fished under the auspices of a registered tourist fishing camp, the export quota is maximum 18 kilos of fish or fish products, provided that the organized fishing can be documented.
  • Registered fishing camps are obliged to report catches to the fisheries authorities.
  • It is forbidden to fish cod in the Oslofjord all year round. In addition, cod fishing is prohibited from 1 January to 30 April in 14 defined areas where the cod spawn, from Lindesnes to the Swedish border.
     

Codes of conduct and safety


The Norwegian Association of Hunters and Anglers have compiled a set of guidelines for anyone who wishes to try their luck in the Norwegian seas. These are:

  1. Always think safety first. Wear a life jacket and keep a lifeline in your backpack.
  2. Treat the fish and other wildlife with respect.
  3. Show moderation.
  4. Leave as little a footprint as possible and do not litter.
  5. Show consideration to other nature users.
  6. Know first aid.
  7. Dress according to the weather forecasts. The weather can change quickly. Get home safely.
  8. Be proud to be an angler.

Size matters


In order to preserve Norwegian fish stocks we encourage everyone to avoid catching fish that are under the minimum size specified.

If you do catch a fish that is smaller than the minimum size, free it carefully from the hook and release it into the sea. If the fish is dead or is clearly not capable of surviving, you can keep it to eat.

You can read more about the regulations for sea angling in Norway at the Directorate of Fisheries’ official website.

Trends in angling


Specimen fishing
Hunting for the biggest specimen of different species.

Fishing from your own pier
Rent a rorbu (a traditional fisherman’s cabin) in for example the Lofoten Islands or Fjord Norway and practice angling right outside your bedroom.

Species fishing
An increasing number of visitors are discovering the joy of fishing different species. Norway is especially suitable for species fishing thanks to the unusually large variety in the sea.

Surfcasting
Fishing by casting a line into the sea from the shore. Rent special equipment to make longer castings and catch fish further out.

Catch and release
Live and let live: There is an increasing awareness about the importance of the life in the sea. When the catch is alive and kicking and you don’t need it for your dinner, the best option is to release it. This method enables enthusiasts to perform their favourite sport to a bigger extent.

Useful fishing app


An app called Fritidsfiske (language versions include English and Russian) has everything you need to know about fishing in Norway, with tips on rules and regulations, equipment, and minimum sizes.

Download in iTunes
Download in Google Play

Species


Cod (torsk)
The most common of the Norwegian fish species. You can find the biggest cod off the coast of Finnmark and Troms during winter. Nordland also has important spawn areas and there are well-known hot spots in the Northwest.

Flounder (skrubbe) and other flatfish
Mostly found in Southern Norway, but also all along the rest of the coast.

Haddock (hyse/kolje)
Found in Fjord Norway (Sogn & Fjordane, Møre & Romsdal) and Trøndelag.

Mackerel (makrell)
A popular catch in the Oslofjord and other areas of Southern Norway where cod is less present than it used to be. Can be found all over the coast, but is not plentiful in the north.

Halibut (kveite)
The season is at the end of May and in June. Mostly present in Troms.

Wolffish (steinbit)
Found in Fjord Norway and northward.

Sea trout (sjøørret)
A popular catch in the Oslofjord and other areas.

Coalfish, saithe (sei)
The season is in May and June. Exists all along the coast. The best fishing spots are in Fjord Norway and northward.

Tusk (brosme)
Especially present in Trøndelag and Fjord Norway. Found in deep water.

Hake (lysing)
This species lives deep down in the fjords and is therefore especially rewarding to catch.

Plaice (rødspette)
Light tackle fishing in the autumn. The plaice can be up to 95 cm and weigh 8 kg.

Guest species
The Norwegian coast receives numerous visiting species. The total number varies, however, a number of around 150 is often mentioned and adds to the native 200. Amongst the many interesting species are bonito (stripet pelamide), grey mullet (tykkleppet multe), and less frequently tuna (tunfisk).

Safety on the water

Safety tips to leave you high and dry

Keep these rules of thumb in mind whenever you are on or by the water:

  1. Think safety at all times. Planning reduces risk.
  2. Bring necessary equipment, make sure it is in good condition and easily accessible.
  3. Respect the sea and the weather. Only go out in a boat when it is safe.
  4. Know the rules of the sea, and make sure to follow them.
  5. Wear life jackets or other flotation devices.
  6. Be rested and sober. Do not operate a boat while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
  7. Be considerate, and remember that safety, the environment, and the well-being of everybody is a common responsibility.

Find more safety tips on Norwegian Maritime Authority’s website.

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