National Geographic : 1947 Mar
() Lennart INUsson irom lUacKsar Fresh-caught Cod Are Cleaned and Ice-packed for Shipment to Northern Europe's Cities W HEN cod are running, steamers plying Nor way's "inside passage" touch Lofoten ports to take on fresh fish. But the bulk of the catch is dried or salted for export to Europe, Africa, and the Americas (pages 382, 383). Fishing banks off Norway's west and north coasts are among the world's richest, make it Europe's greatest fishing nation. Nearly two-thirds of all Norwegians depend directly or indirectly on the sea. In prewar years fish and fish products ranked third among Norway's exports. Recent record catches may boost them to first place. Spawning cod arrive in Lofoten waters in jam packed shoals often 150 feet thick. The short- lived Lofoten season accounts in normal years for 55 percent of Norway's catch of cod. Protecting this and other Lofoten harbors from westerly gales stands the steep, snow-mantled "Lofot Wall." Its jagged peaks, some 3,000 feet high, are imposing in a land noted for scenic beauty. Their wrinkled granite faces catch the winter's frequent snowfalls. In summer snow gives way to shiny moss. The islands, in the same Arctic latitude as northern Alaska and central Greenland, have a mean annual temperature of 38° F. Coldest month is February, but even then the mercury rarely dips below freezing and sheep graze outdoors the year round.