Melting ice spawns record cod catch

Helped by global warming, Norway’s near monopoly on the stuff of fish’n'chips is about to grow.

Melting ice spawns record cod catch
Saipal (File)

Fishermen and scientists in Norway agree they’ve never seen as much cod as they’re catching now, and they say melting Arctic ice is the reason.

“On behalf of future generations, I’m truly glad,” fisherman Kaare Ludvigsen told broadcaster NRK.

Researchers have said melting ice has opened up larger areas of shallower Arctic water in the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea into which young fish can flee predators. They confirm their test catches have turned up record numbers of yearlings destined to become commercial fish — they say 120 billion “individuals”.

In contrast to Atlantic Canada, where the cod fishery collapsed in the 1980s due to overfishing, Norway’s commercial cod banks are the richest in the world. Coastal waters stretching into the Arctic from the Lofoten Islands to the Svalbard archipelago are the site of spawning for three types of migrating cod schools.

That migration now runs farther north than ever, and Russian and Norwegian researchers have found spawning fish in the high latitudes.

Such is the cod’s new clout that Norwegian fishermen are worried the seabed where the fish dine will be stripped clean for future generations of cod. They have also asked for larger quotas to fish to make room for other species.

Ludvigsen’s fishermen colleagues met in Trondheim this week to discuss whether there were “too many” fish in the sea and agreed to more than double their catch in 2012 to 751,000 tonnes.

Norway exported a record 1.12 billion kroner worth of wild cod in September, but not since the starvation years post-World War II has there been so much cod to catch.

In the Arctic, meanwhile, seasonal ice floes have shrunk to their smallest covering in 8,000 years.

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Where are Norway’s Michelin star restaurants?

Norway is home to four new Michelin-starred restaurants following the recent publication of the Nordic Countries Guide for 2022. These are all the Norwegian restaurants to receive a star in the Michelin Guide. 

Where are Norway’s Michelin star restaurants?

Four new Norwegian restaurants received Michelin stars when the Nordic Countries Guide for 2022 was published this week. 

Scandinavia’s cooking elite gathered in Stavanger on Monday to award this year’s stars and individual honours for chefs in the Nordics. 

Three of the new stars awarded were given to restaurants in Oslo, while the other star was given to an eatery in Bergen, taking the number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the city on Norway’s west coast to two. 

One of the newcomers, Hot Shop, named after the former sex shop the building used to house, is located on Københavngata street in east Oslo. The canteen-style bistro serves tasting menus based on seasonal, local ingredients, which the Michelin Guide describes as “elegant, vibrant and technically adept, with delicate touches and real depth of flavour”. 

Schlägergården in Lilleaker, on the eastern outskirts of Oslo, was also awarded its first star. However, it was the fourth time restaurant manager Bjørn Svensson had received a star for one of his restaurants. The restaurant is in a converted 18th-century farmhouse with a set menu consisting of local produce, some foraged, grown, or preserved by the eatery’s staff. 

Michelin describes the food there as “pure, expertly crafted dishes which have bold, emotive flavours”.

Located right on the border of Grünerløkka and St. Hanshaugen in central Oslo is Hyde, the third restaurant in the capital to receive its first Michelin star this year. The guide credits the service and “laid-back, lively atmosphere” as major pulls for the restaurants.

Over on Norway’s west coast, Lysverket in Bergen was awarded a Michelin star. The eatery serves up creative, modern takes on Norwegian dishes accompanied by craft cocktails. The restaurant is housed in an art museum with the menus showcasing “intelligently crafted, balanced dishes”. 

The other restaurant in Oslo, boasting a glowing review from the Michelin guide, was Maaemo, which retained its three Michelin star status. The new Nordic cuisine behemoth focused on organic and biodynamic produce is located in the heart of Oslo on Dronning Eufamas gate street.

A few other chefs and restaurants received accolades at this year’s presentation. Heidi Bjerkan took home two awards, the first for excellent service at her sustainable Michelin-starred restaurant Credo. One of her other restaurants, Jossa Mat og Drikke, won a green star, given to eatery’s that excel in sustainable operations. 

A Norwegian, Jimmy Øien, scooped the award for the best young chef. Øien is the chef at Rest located on Kirkegat in Central Oslo and holds a green star for sustainable practices. The menu heavily emphasises using imperfect produce, which other places may otherwise discard. 

Several restaurants also retained their status. Renaa, with its kitchen located in the heart of the restaurant, has two Michelin stars and is commended by the guide for the quality of its Norwegian seafood dishes and the bread it produces at a nearby bakery. 

The 2022 guide also includes Kontrast (Oslo), Statholdergaarden (Oslo) , Under (Lindesnes), the biggest underwater restaurant in the world, Sabi Omakase (Stavanger), Bare (Bergen), FAGN (Trondheim), Credo (Trondheim) and Speilsalen (Trondheim), which all have one Michelin star.