Norway Agriculture and Fishing Overview

Norway Facts

Norway has stunningly beautiful nature with fjords, mountains and glaciers. It is familiar to many from the royal, winter sports and fishing industries.
Capital: Oslo
Official language: Norwegian
Currency: Norwegian krone (NOK)
Passport and visa: Finnish citizen needs an identity card: driving license, passport or identity card.
Time difference to Finland: -1

Agriculture and fishing

Mountainous landscape and cold climate have made it difficult to farm in Norway. Less than three percent of the country’s area is cultivated. Norway was traditionally a small farm country with fields that climbed the slopes of the valleys, but in recent decades the farms have become smaller and larger. Fishing, fish farming and animal husbandry are the most important industries.

  • CountryAAH: Comprehensive import regulations of Norway. Covers import prohibitions and special documentation requirements for a list of prohibited items.

In 1969 there were over 150,000 farms, and most had less than 20 hectares of arable land. In four decades to 2010, the number of farms dropped to 46,000, with almost half being larger than 100 hectares. Agriculture, fisheries and forestry employ a few percent of the country’s labor force and contribute less than two percent of GDP, but the industries are important to the people of the north.

The most important agricultural areas are in the valleys of eastern and southeastern Norway and in Tr√łndelag in the area around Trondheim. Both farmers and fishermen are well organized and receive extensive government subsidies, but the size of public agricultural support has been increasingly questioned. For Norway defense and foreign policy, please check relationshipsplus.

The most common crops are barley, wheat and oats. Whale farming for animal feed occupies around half of the cultivated area. Norway is largely self-sufficient in meat, milk and eggs but imports fruits, vegetables and cereals. The country’s milk production has been constant over the past half century, while meat production has almost tripled. Most are born sheep, followed by cows and pigs.

Almost a quarter of Norway is covered by forests, which are largely owned by farmers.

One of the world’s largest fish exporters

Norway has the largest economic sea zone in Europe, and the fishing fleet captures catches that correspond to the US’s entire annual consumption of fish. Norway has exported cod since the Viking Age, and now it is one of the world’s largest fish exporters. However, fish farms, mainly salmon, account for three quarters of the export value, while traditional fishing accounts for the rest. In the fishery, cod is the one that brings in the most, followed by herring.

The modern Norwegian fishing fleet has a strong overcapacity, and the number of fishing vessels has decreased by more than a third since 1990, while catches have almost doubled. Only a few thousand Norwegians have fishing as their main occupation, but the industry is important in Finnmark county in the far north. The fishermen there have conflicts of interest with the oil companies in the Barents Sea, where the world’s largest cod stock is found and more than 90 percent of Norwegian cod fishing takes place. In the sparsely populated area, fish farming has become a rapidly growing industry.

In 1977, Norway established a fish protection area around Svalbard and an economic zone 200 nautical miles off the Norwegian coast to obtain internationally recognized right to natural resources in the area. An economic zone around the island of Jan Mayen was created in 1980. Norway has had numerous conflicts with its neighboring countries and with the EU on fishing limits and fishing quotas in Norwegian waters and international areas, such as the Smutthavet between Norway and Iceland and the Smutthullet in the Barents Sea. The fishing is the reason why Norway claims certain land areas and islands in the Arctic and Antarctic.

The fishing nations around the Arctic agreed at the end of 2017 to stop all commercial fishing in the Arctic waters for the time being. In line with global warming, fish stocks have decreased in size and fishing hours have begun to take new paths. During the stop, the nations will conduct joint research to find out more about the ecosystems in the area in order to eventually be able to resume fishing. The agreement includes Canada, the EU, China, Denmark (Greenland and the Faroe Islands), Iceland, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Russia and the USA.

Contested whaling

Norwegian whaling has been criticized internationally for threatening the constituency. Norway, like Iceland, does not consider itself bound by the hunt for the hunt introduced by the International Electoral Commission in 1986. In 1993, Norway resumed commercial whaling after a break when the catch was limited to “scientific purposes”. In 2008, despite the UN trade ban, Norway and Iceland resumed exports of whale meat to Japan (see also Foreign Policy and Defense).

In 2018, Norway increased its annual whaling ratio by 28 percent, to 1,278 whales, despite the fact that the number of whaling vessels has declined sharply in recent years and the whales have had a hard time filling catch quotas. In 1950 there were 350 whaling vessels in Norway, but in 2017 there were only eleven remaining. In 2017, the catch ratio was 999, but the number of whales caught was 432. According to the whalers, the decline is due to low capacity in the factories that handle the whale meat and high fuel costs. In addition, the consumption of whale meat is significantly reduced.


Agriculture’s share of GDP

1.8 percent (2018)

Percentage of land used for agriculture

2.7 percent (2016)



The reds retain power

Disagreement about immigration and refugee policy and the government issue means that the bourgeois opposition cannot make use of its opinion in public opinion before the parliamentary elections. Winners will be the red-green government coalition, with three seats victory margin over the bourgeois. The Labor Party increases by 3 percentage points to 35.5 percent (64 seats). The Progress Party makes a record choice and increases to 23 percent (41 seats). The right also increases by three percentage points to 17 percent (30 seats). The Socialist Left Party stays on 11 seats, as does the Center Party. Christian People’s Party wins 10 seats, while Venstre goes back sharply to 2 seats. The turnout is 77 percent.


Jensen warns of sneaky Islamization

Progress Party leader Siv Jensen claims that “sneak Islamization” threatens Norwegian cities. She sees Swedish Malm√∂ as a cautionary example.

Norway Agriculture and Fishing