Such a perfect place
Vardø N70° E31°
A new beginning
Arctic Catch is located at the tip of the Varanger peninsula. Here, Vardø is virtually stretching into the Barents Sea, making it the easternmost town in Norway. It is also very, very far to the north, but as its harbour is ice-free all year round, it is an ideal location for fisheries. For centuries, Vardø was one of Norway's major fishing ports, processing vast amounts of whitefish. Being close to Russia, it was also an important trading post, rich in culture and commerce, but after a restructuring of North Norway's fisheries, it went into decline. Since the 1970s, its population has been halved. Not so anymore. New growth is taking place, and as in earlier days, Vardø's fortunes originate in the east.
The wanderer from the east
The red king crab is native to the Bering Sea, but was introduced into the Barents Sea by the Soviet Union during the 1960s. This provided a valuable new catch to Russian fishermen, but as king crabs are highly mobile, they didn't stay put. Great numbers moved rapidly westwards, causing concern to Norwegain Fishing Authorities. To protect the feeding grounds of traditional native species, not least in the waters around Vardø, the population of king crabs would have to be managed. Luckily, the hungry king crab had a highly redeeming quality. It was delicious, and in demand all over the world. Once again, Vardø became the ideal location for a fishery.
Back to the future
Arctic Catch was established by Igor Smirnov in 2009, initially to provide a production facility for the newly identified red king crab fishery, and to explore the viability of a Norwegian snow crab industry. Since then we have progressed steadily to become a leading supplier of Arctic seafood to the global market. Vardø was the natural location, as close to the crab fishing grounds as possible, with production and packing facilities at the waterfront close to the local airport. During the 2009 and 2010 seasons, we solely processed red king crab. In 2011, we purchased Arctic Wolf, a 47m live catch crab vessel. The same year we obtained permission to land and pack whitefish. In 2013 we were the first company in Norway to land and process snow crab. In 2015 we expanded our whitefish business, adding frozen products to fresh and salted whitefish, supplying domestic as well as export markets. Arctic Catch and Vardø is now heading rapidly into the future, combining its traditional cod, haddock and halibut with the new and exciting red king crab and snow crab.