Certifier : 
Certified status : 
Certified since : 
17 Aug 2012
Certificate expires : 
17 Feb 2023


The Barents Sea is the main nursery and feeding area for northeast Arctic cod. Stock levels are in good health. The fishery’s harvesting strategy is designed to respond to the current status of the stock and to maintain this at a level that supports “high long-term yield”.

The Faroe Islands has a small number of licences to fish in the Barents Sea, in Norwegian, Russian and international waters. The Faroe Islands fleet accounts for around 4% of the total international cod catch in the region. 

Saithe (also called coley) is a whitefish closely related to pollock, common in the North Atlantic. The fish mature at around 5-7 years and spawn along coastal banks, mainly in February when the water temperature is 6-10°C. Following spawning, larvae settle in inshore areas and migrate to the coastal areas at 2-4 years of age.

This fishery also includes the previously individually certified Faroe Islands North East Arctic haddock

All the vessels are stern trawlers, around 60m long. Around 70 people work on board to catch, process and freeze the catch at sea.

The trawl gear is equipped with sorting grids to enable undersized fish to escape. The mesh at the cod-end is 150mm – larger than the statutory 130mm – to further limit capture of small fish.

Research is ongoing in plotting the distribution of sponges, corals and other vulnerable marine habitats in the Barents Sea. Some sensitive habitat areas have been identified and these areas closed to fishing.

A typical fishing trip last 6–8 weeks. The season starts in January, most probably fishing off Lofoten where the mature cod aggregate on their way to the inshore spawning grounds.

Cod (Gadus morhua) image © Scandinavian Fishing Year Book