The Lofoten Fishery

Fishing has always been a reason to live in Lofoten. The Lofoten Fishery for arctic cod in the winter is the world`s largest cod fishery.

The cod comes to Lofoten to spawn

From January to mid-April, one of the world's wonders takes place in Lofoten. The cod returns from the Barents Sea to its birthplace, the coast of Lofoten, to spawn. The cod spends most of its life in the nutrient-rich Barents Sea, but when the cod reaches sexual maturity (approx. 5 years) it swims to the Norwegian coast in the winter months to spawn. When the cod comes to the shore it is called arctic cod (In norwegian: Skrei). The arctic cod is first-class Norwegian cod and the word itself comes from the Norse word skreið which means fish that slides or wanders.

Fishing has been of great importance in Lofoten for over 1000 years

For thousands of years, people have harvested this delicacy just off the coast of Lofoten. For several centuries, Lofoten fishing has been the very basis of life for the people here, and has had a very great impact on both the local and national economy. Cabins, called “rorbu” were built to house thousands of visiting fishermen, who came to Lofoten during the arctic cod season. Several of the fishermen cabins (rorbu) on Svinøya in Svolvær are original and were set up by the landowner in the mid-1800s.

Lofoten fishing today 

Before it could approximately 30.000 fishermen out fishing during the arctic cod season. Today, there are around 2.000 fishermen in the annual season. It has also become very popular to travel to Lofoten to try fishing during the season. There are organized fishing trips "the inexperienced" can participate in, whether it is a private fishing trip with a guide or a trip together with other tourists.

During the arctic cod season, there is a bustling life in Lofoten. Fishing boats full of fish surrounded by seagulls, children cutting cod tongues on the quay and men hanging fish on fish racks are daily life in Lofoten.

Stay in an original Rorbu

In several places in Lofoten, the rorbu cabins that were used by the fishermen are well taken care of and are possible to rent. It is worth mentioning that several places in Lofoten call their accommodation for "rorbu", even though the rorbu wasn`t used by fishermen before. Look for places where they have "original" rorbu cabins. At Svinøya, we have taken care of the rorbu cabins that were previously used by visiting fishermen. They are well renovated to meet today's standard.  

Here you will live centrally in a lively and traditional fishing village, this is where it all began in the town of Svolvær. What once used to be a warehouse dating back to 1828, is today the home for one of Svolvær’s best fish restaurants serving local and traditional delicacies, Børsen. In the same venerable quayside building, you will also find Krambua, which was Solvær’s very first grocery store and today, the reception area for Svinøya Rorbuer. In addition to our accommodation, Svinøya also consists of fisheries, wooden fishing racks, and a wonderful mix of locals.