All animals in Svalbard are protected, but for some species hunting, trapping or fishing is allowed. You have to obtain a license from the Governor of Svalbard, and in most cases you have to pay a fee. Please also read the attached document with a short summary of provisions relating to harvesting on Svalbard.

The purpose of managing animal species in Svalbard is to protect, to the extent possible, naturally occurring species. This means that hunting and fishing must not affect the stock. Thus, Svalbard's animals are protected, although controlled and limited hunting and fishing is allowed for some species.

The Norwegian hunting proficiency test

To hunt in Svalbard you need to pass an exam. The exam may be taken at the Governor's office or on mainland Norway. Persons who are permanently resident abroad do not have to take the Norwegian hunting proficiency test, if they meet the requirements for similar hunting in their home country. In addition, if hunting seal and reindeer, you need to document that you have passed the big-game-proficiency test (annual rifle shooting test). 


Residents are allowed to fish for arctic char with a net. They are also allowed to catch arctic char with a rod in fresh-water at specific watercourses. Fishing gear needs to be disinfected if it has been used anywhere but in Svalbard. Visitors may only fish with hand held equipment. In all cases, you need to obtain a a fishing license, which is issued at the Governor's office. The fishing season for Arctic Char is 01.01-15.10.

Hunting, trapping and fishing is permitted on these species within the following periods:







Ringed seal (Phoca hispida)

01.02-20.03 and 20.05-30.11

Bearded seal (Erignathus barbatus)

01.02-27.04 and 05.06-30.11

Arctic fox* (Vulpes lagopus)

01.11 - 15.03

Svalbard reindeer* (Rangifer tarandus platyrhynchus)

15.08 - 20.09





Fulmar (Fulmarus glacialis)

21.09 - 31.10

Pink footed goose (Anser brachyrhynchus)

20.08 - 31.10

Svalbard ptarmigan** (Lagopus mutus hyperborea)

10.09 - 23.12

Black guillemot (Cepphus grylle)

01.09 - 31.10

  * = only for resident hunters.

** = there is a quota restriction of five Svalbard ptarmigans for each hunting season for visitors, and ten Svalbard ptarmigans per day for residents.

Fee for hunting and fishing

Everyone must obtain a license before hunting and fishing at Svalbard. You may have to pay a fee for some of these licences. The income goes to the Svalbard Environmental Fund.

The following liscences and fees are established:


Fishing license


Use of gillnet*

NOK 150

Hand held equipment

Free of charge



Bird hunting license


Season card for person over 18 years

NOK 200

Season card for person under 18 years

Free of charge



Fox hunting/trapping liscense*


Season card for person over 18 years old

NOK 200

Season card for person under 18 years old

Free of charge



Seal hunting

Free of charge



Reindeer license*


Calf of the year

NOK 100

Adult Female or yearling

NOK 300

Animal of free choice

NOK 300



* = only for residents