Author: The Directorate of Fisheries
Norway has the longest coastline in Europe – approx. 20 000 km or, if one takes all the islands into account, 57 000 km. From the innermost reaches of the fjords to the outermost islands, the islets and skerries you will find a wealth of opportunities for fishing and boating along this magnificent and varied coastline.
The Norwegian coast also functions as a theatre for a great number of commercial activities such as transport, fishing and sea farming. In order to ensure that unnecessary conflicts do not arise, the Norwegian authorities have passed a number of laws and regulations concerning fishing and movement in the coastal regions.
We wish you a warm welcome and hope that you will enjoy the rich opportunities our coastline has to offer. We also hope that you will take the time to read this guide which describes the most important obligations and rights you must observe when traveling in the coastal regions.
There is no charge for sea fishing. Foreign citizens may engage in sports fishing with hand held tackle, but may not set out fixed equipment such as fish, lobster or crab pots or nets, fishing lines or fishing nets. Foreign citizens may not sell their catches.
It is illegal to use living animals or fish as bait.
All persons carrying out sea-fishing activities must show caution while so doing, whether fishing from land or a vessel. Be aware that you are liable to pay compensation if you, whether willfully or by accident, damage fishing equipment or tackle that has been set out.
Norway is the world’s leading producer of Atlantic Salmon, a product that is in great demand in the world markets. Fish farming takes place along most of the Norwegian coastline, and production is in the main carried out in submerged open net pens (Merdes).
In order to avoid damage being caused to the merdes by sports fishers, with consequent damage to the netting resulting in the fish escaping, the authorities have passed legislation forbidding fishing in a 100 meter zone from fish farms and other net enclosures. Further, a general ban on traffic of all kinds within 20 meters from fish farming plants and/or tow-nets and seine enclosures that are moored ashore or anchored by any other means.
The lobster, also known as the cardinal of the sea, has, as a result of overfishing been designated as a threatened species in Norwegian coastal waters. A number of regulations have therefore been adopted in order to protect and preserve the stand. These regulations include legislation on seasonal restrictions, minimum sizes and regulations governing equipment.
Foreign citizens may not, as stated earlier, use equipment for catching lobsters. Please also note that it is illegal to catch lobsters in connection with sports diving. Breaches of these protective regulations will result in fines being imposed.
Fishing in rivers and lakes
Fishing License – general information
From the year 2002, it will no longer be necessary to purchase a national license to fish coarse fish and crayfish. A local rod license will still be required, and you must also have a permit from the landowner. Only those intending to fish salmon, sea trout and sea char will have to purchase a national fishing license (except to fish in the sea).
The National Fishing License is a fee payable to the Norwegian Government for the right to fish salmon, sea trout and sea char (anadromous salmonids), both commercially and non- commercially. All anglers over the age of 16 must pay the fee unless they are going to fish in the sea. A local rod license must also be purchased and a permit has to be obtained from the landowner.
The use of live fish as bait is prohibited. All anglers are required to acquaint themselves with the law and any local regulations pertaining to angling. Further information regarding regulations and fishing times can be obtained from the local authorities.
Sea bird sanctuaries
A number of sea bird reserves and sanctuaries have been established along the coast. These are marked by signs. The primary aim is to provide protection for the birds during the nesting season.
All traffic is normally forbidden in such reserves and sanctuaries during the nesting season. The ban on all traffic also applies to sea traffic within a distance of 50 metres from land.
Dogs and other animals must be kept on a leash all year round in the reserves and sanctuaries. Any activities that may disturb the natural surroundings, including but not limited to, camping and the making of fires are strictly forbidden year round.
Good luck with your fishing in Norway!
For further information about sea fishing regulations, please contact:
The Directorate of Fisheries
P.O. box 185, Sentrum
Tel.: +47 55 23 80 00.