“The fisheries industry on land has had several difficult years in the past two decades. Next year is reminiscent of 1999-2008 when the quotas were historically low. However, frozen fish was not exported in such a large proportion as it is now. Hence, the industry had access to more raw materials,” explains Eliassen in Norfra.
He also believes it will be tough for the fishers.
“Next year will be the first year since 2003, I believe, that the fisheries will not go up and forward.”
“The fishers have made it out relatively okay from these ups and downs regarding quotas since the raw materials prices often compensate for smaller quotas and vice versa. But next year, it does not look that easy,” he adds.
Worries about the cod stock
What is most worrying regarding the quota reduction for cod?
“It is worrying that there has been poor recruitment despite such a big stock,” says Heggebø of the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association.
He explains that recruitment means there have not been registered strong, new year classes of cod in the past years; the fish has not reached an age where it is measured and counted as part of the stock estimates.
“This is very worrying.”
“In addition, many of our members will have tough times ahead. Luckily, we have many good years behind us, and I hope this can contribute to being more prepared for some tougher years,” he adds.
Many young people have recently stepped into the fisheries sector and invested a lot in boats and quotas – what do you think about that situation?
“That can be very challenging, especially for those who have big commitments. Several things are happening at once now: reduced quotas, lower income, higher interest rates, and generally higher operations costs regarding fuel and prices that have gone up the past years,” explains the association leader.