The fisheries around Røst have also changed over time. There are, among other things, fewer people who have chosen to become fishermen, according to Johansen.
The Fish Buyer says that when he was growing up in the 1970s and 1980s there were three to five people in school each year who went on to become fishermen. Today, there is maybe only one every three or four years.
Fewer fish landed
Johansen shows us a photo on the wall inside the hall, dating from 1918. The boats were lined up side by side to sell and unload their fish during the annual Lofoten cod fishery.
“At the time, there were 16,000 fishermen, but not enough factories to receive all the fish,” he says and continues;
Today there are fewer fishing boats around the archipelago and fewer fish are landed.
“One of the reasons for this is the structuring of the fishing fleet, which has led to the accumulation of several fishing quotas in the same vessel. It has also led to fewer locally owned vessels, ”he adds.
That ships and quotas end up outside the municipality is not only a problem for Røst, but all along the coast.
One of the issues highlighted by the Norwegian Auditor General’s office in its 2020 report, previously covered by High North News, was the trend in fisheries where quotas are being accumulated in fewer and larger vessels. It describes how the sum of changes in the quota system has negatively impacted fishing activities in many local communities.
“There is a struggle to get enough raw materials. There are fewer sellers, so we have to adjust our production. It also forces us to buy from other landing factories which is of course a bit more expensive. “
During the winter season, when almost 90 percent of fish landings take place, it is very important for the company to acquire enough raw materials to secure its stockfish production and the activity of its staff for the rest of the year. the year.
“Røst is incredibly dependent on access to fish in winter. This is when the foundation is laid for the rest of the year and creates activity for the second half of the year. Without stockfish, most of us would have a hard time retaining experienced and skilled workers. However, stockfish is the only conventional product that has had the best profitability and yield, ”he says.
This year’s export season
The foundation is thus laid in winter. But today, the company is preparing first and foremost for the next export season.
What do you think of this year’s stockfish sales?
“We think this year’s season will be better than last year – which really doesn’t ask for much! With the opening of the catering market in Europe, consumption is expected to return to pre-Covid levels. It remains to be seen whether customers have been lost along the way and whether purchasing power is at the same level as before the outbreak of the pandemic. “
“The Norwegian currency is still relatively weak, however, it has increased by around five percent compared to the same period last year, which is particularly beneficial for the fishing industry as it sells all of its products in the international market. So we can just hope that the new political regime in Norway will be as focused on the EEA Agreement as the previous one, which has provided stable framework conditions for decades now, ”he concluded.