You think you know all about cod? You might want to hold on to that thought first. There is a particular cod in Norway esteemed to be one of the best tasting delicacies the sea has to offer. Say hello to the skrei.

The Skrei

The Norwegian cod is a cod above the rest. Its name skrei, comes from the old Norse word meaning ‘wanderer’, which certainly befits this fish. Unlike regular cod, Norwegian cod are migratory. Annually, from January until late April, they make a long and arduous swim from the frigid depths of the Barents Sea all the way back to their spawning grounds surrounding the Lofoten Islands, off the coast of northern Norway.

The Norwegian cod only makes the journey once it is in its prime, which is around 5 to 6 years old, and can grow to a considerable size. This, along with its epic swim through turbulent, freezing waters, makes the meat leaner, firmer, and remarkably delicious. It has made this cod a thing of seafood perfection beyond compare.

The pearly-white flesh delivers a clean, delicate flavour only distinct to the skrei. The meat, very lean and chunky, flakes perfectly well, too. This has earned the praises of world-renowned chefs such as the French chef Michel Roth and our very own Michel Roux Jr.

Sustaining Miracles

You won’t see a miracle every day, but you could definitely taste it for some time each year.  The skrei is a seasonal catch that is only available from January to April. Despite being a prime product, the Norwegian cod has the healthiest and most sustainable population of cod across the world. They number around half a billion, but only 10% is caught each year.

This was made possible thanks to the efforts and strict regulations implemented by the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC). Throughout the skrei season, patrols monitor the seas and docks to make sure that everyone adheres to these regulations.  

The Skrei Label

Not all Norwegian cod caught could receive the coveted skrei label. Only the best of the best could deserve such a title.

First, the fish should be wild and line-caught during the day. Next, the fish must also be fully grown, around 5 to 6 years old. It must also be caught in their traditional spawning ground off the coast of Northern Norway.

The fish must be in an impeccable condition. Bruised or damaged fish cannot be considered skrei. The catch must be frozen within 12 hours upon catch and stored in a controlled temperature between 32° and 39.2°F.

What to Look for in Buying Skrei

Skrei is much more of a brand than a fish name. It is packed under strict criteria to ensure uncompromising quality and freshness.

When buying a whole fish, look for the Skrei label fastened to the foremost dorsal fin. Whole skrei also comes in boxes with the same quality label attached to the box.

For fillets, the label is attached outside the packaging.

The label is oval-shaped with the fish’s drawing at the center, and should have the text ‘Gadus Morhua’, which is the scientific name of the Atlantic cod. For more information about Skrei Cod, please click here