Cod from Lofoten is known around the world by the name Skrei. Skrei is caught in the spawning grounds in the waters around Lofoten and Vesterålen from January to April. Huge quantities are caught that are consumed as fresh fish or hung to dry to become stockfish.
Fresh Skrei is a delicacy with a quality equal to that of any pure raw material around the world. In recent years huge quantities of Skrei have been exported to markets in Europe and the United States.
Norwegians also poach the fish eggs and liver from Skrei to make Mølje, a delicacy for Norwegians.
The fish that are hung out to dry are taken down in May/June and sorted for export to many countries in Europe. Italy is the biggest export market. The fish is desalted in a water bath and used in many dishes, the most common of which is Bacalao.
Stockfish has been an important Norwegian export ever since the year 1100. It amounted to more than 80 % of all Norway’s export products for hundreds of years, amounting to an enormous income for the country as a whole. Stockfish helped build our nation. It was the economic basis for thousands of people and communities along the coast – thanks to the Skrei of Lofoten. This trade began in Storvågan, which was once called Vagar. It was the first and only city in the north throughout the Middle Ages.