More and more wild-caught cod are being stored alive in pens before delivery. “The quota bonus system from 2013 appears to be having its intended effect,” says scientist Øystein Hermansen. Photo: Bjørn Tore Forberg/Nofima

Project Year 2016

Record-high live storage

More and more cod are being held in live storage in Norway. In 2016, some 6,500 tonnes of cod were caught.

“The quota bonus system definitely seems to be working as intended,” says scientist Øystein Hermansen.

There was a marked increase in the amount of live-stored cod in 2016, up from 6,000 tons in 2015, and a huge increase from 2013, when just under 2,000 tonnes of cod were delivered for live storage.

The quota bonus system, introduced in 2013, basically means that only half of the catch that is delivered to live storage is deducted from the quota. In theory this means that fishermen can catch twice as many fish. This is not quite the case in practice, however, since some of the fish are not viable after capture.

Cod are normally kept in a pen for 8–12 weeks, and both the producers and the scientists are gradually gaining experience of storage of wild-caught cod and the market opportunities this affords.

More experience

“Live storage is still in the research stage, and we need someone to dare to be the first and gain experience so that it is possible to make sound decisions in the long term. At present, for example, we do not know how profitable this method really is,” the scientist explains.

The producers are seeking to exploit multiple sources to increase the value and make up for the slightly higher costs.

“Having fish available beyond the relatively short fishing season makes it possible to exploit rising prices as the supply of fish falls. In addition, because live storage ensures higher quality fish, more of the fish can be sold in the best-paying markets,” Hermansen adds.

He also points out how uncertainties in the supply of fish make it difficult to enter into long-term agreements with supermarket chains and other sales channels. With a live stock in storage, much of this uncertainty is removed.

12 weeks

Today, most producers are only allowed to store live fish for up to 12 weeks. A softening of the regulations means that it is now relatively easy for producers to get permission to store fish for longer.

Originally, the quota bonus scheme was only supposed to run until the end of 2017, but now it is being extended, albeit not indefinitely.

The Research Council of Norway

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