Stø, Northern Norway: “In order to make unemployed youth work in the fish industry, some argue that they should keep their unemployment benefits on top of the wakes they make in the industry. That provokes me a great deal, I must honestly admit”, says foreman Leif Godvik at the Gunnar Klo company.
Leif Godvik is foreman at the Gunnar Klo fish landing plant in Stø, a small hamlet in the Vesterålen region in Northern Norway. Godvik has worked here for 25 years and is proud of both his industry as well as the job he and his colleagues do.
“We have worked in this industry for many, many years and are quite proud of the industry as well as the job we do. So I find it very provoking when some bring that argument to the table in order to lure unemployed people to the industry.”
I visit the landing plant in Stø while strong winds almost make the walls tremble. Most of the local fleet is forced to remain in the harbor, but some of the larger vessels continue catching the skrei [cod fish ready to spawn along the coast] that is slowly migrating down the Vesterålen coastline.
It is hard to get anywhere closer to the food than right here, in the hamlet of Stø, rich in tradition when it comes to fisheries.
Leif Godvik has had the same production staff with him for many seasons. They come from Poland, Lithuania and Romania. Godvik is not sure about how much they have noticed the discussion about foreign seasonal workers.
“But it has to feel very strange.”
The Gunnar Klo company in Stø has very flexible operations. Some fish is hanged, some of it becomes dryfish, and some is sent off to salt fish production. In addition, filet production is increasing while fresh fish is packed for export to Europe and the USA.
Join us inside the walls of a true and traditional fish landing plant in the High North and see the whole interview with Leif Godvik [subtitles available in English] while the Nordegga seines vessel lands 20 tons of fresh skrei.
Join Arne O. Holm on the High North Tour
This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by HNN's Elisabeth Bergquist.