Skrei (Arctic codfish) is derived from Old Norse for “the wanderer”, a very precise description of this codfish returning to the Norwegian coast after years roaming the Barents Sea. The reason for its return is spawning - i.e. find a mate – hence The Valentine's Fish.
The water conditions in Vestfjorden, between Bodø and Lofoten, are particularly suitable for spawning, attracting skrei by the million towards the Lofoten archipelago every winter between January and March. And with them come the fishermen.
Lofotfiske (“Fishing in Lofoten”) is an institution in Norway, attracting thousands of fishermen to Lofoten to catch what in fact is one of Norway's oldest exports. The Vikings brought the Skrei with them for trading on their excursions, and Skrei has even been subject to a special tax.
It is possible to tell the Skrei apart from the Arctic cod both in appearance and taste. It is a bit longer and more pointed, has whiter, crisper flesh, with firm flakes.