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Norway lobster
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Norway lobster is one of the most valuable shellfish species in the Northeast Atlantic and in the North Sea the Nephrops fishery constitutes the third most valuable fishery. To Denmark the Nephrops fishery is one of the most valuable fisheries. Norwegian fishermen, on the other hand, have yet to discover this valuable resource. In 2006 the price of Norway lobster was 80 NOK per kilo, only surpassed by the price of lobster (Homarus gammarus) and sole.

During the 1950s the annual global landings were ca. 10 000 tons. The landings increased to almost 60 000 tons during the mid 1980s and have remained at this level since. Half of the global landings are caught by Great Britain.

The Nephrops stocks in Skagerrak, Kattegat and the Norwegian Deep seem to fluctuate at a stable level, and the current level of exploitation appears to be sustainable. These stocks are fished by Norway, Sweden, and Denmark, with Denmark and Sweden dominating the fishery. Even in the Norwegian zone in the North Sea the Nephrops fishery is dominated by Danish trawlers who take 80-90 % of the catches.

The small Norwegian landings from Skagerrak and the Norwegian Deep have increased since 2006. The Norwegian landings are more or less equally divided between coastal and open sea areas, but this varies geographically. Skagerrak has mostly coastal landings, while the pattern is opposite in the Norwegian Deep from Lindesnes north to 60 °N, with more landings from the open sea. Coastal landings are again dominating north of 60 °N. A Norwegian trap fishery has developed along the Norwegian coast from Sogn to Trøndelag.

The Norway lobster is fished by Nephrops trawl or traps. A substantial amount is also taken as bycatch in shrimp trawls. Negative impacts of trawling for Norway lobster are large amounts of discarded uncommercial species and undersized lobsters, as well as physical disturbance of the sea bottom.
Trap fishery for Norway lobster has gained an increasing interest in recent years and thousands of traps have been sold. The growing interest for the Nephrops fishery is probably to a large extent caused by many restrictions and low catch rate in the lobster fishery (Homarus gammarus). Recreational fishers thus seek other opportunities for getting a shellfish meal. The catches of Norway lobster have been good, and many people want to try this fishery. The Norway lobster is caught in fjords at depths of between 40 and 70 m, or on soft bottom between the outer islands. The recreational fishery is only regulated by a fixed number of traps per person (20). Professional fishers have no limitation in the number of traps. Fishing can be conducted year round. Thus, the stock in coastal waters seems to be fully exploited.

Facts about Norway Lobster

Latin name: Nephrops norvegicus
Other common names: Dublin bay prawn, langostine, and scampi.
Family: Nephropidae
Maximum length: 24–25 cm
Life span: Up to 15 years
Feeding and spawning area: Western Mediterranean Sea and Northeast Atlantic from Morocco to Lofoten
Spawning season: During summer
Diet: Crustaceans, mollusks, polychaete worms, and scavenges animal carcasses
Special features: Norway lobsters hide themselves in their caves during day light hours, and egg-bearing females rarely leave them. Therefore, the catch composition for this species varies with the time of day, and is dominated by males