Code of Conduct

Minister of fisheries Elisabeth Aspakers speech 20-years with Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries - Aquaculture - Aqua-Nor, Trondheim

Dear Colleagues, excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, We are all friends of environment friendly aquaculture.

The world population is increasing, and so is the global demand for food.

Aquaculture done the right way can contribute to world food supply with important nutritious food.

In 1994/1995 when the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries including the Aquaculture chapter was negotiated, Norwegian aquaculture was still in its infancy with a total production of 210.000 tons.

We saw early the importance of international cooperation and exchange of information and experiences. Therefore Norway in 1998 took the initiative and proposed the establishment of a FAO sub-committee for aquaculture.

At the FAO Fisheries Committee meeting in 1999 this was not approved. We were. however, still convinced it was the right way forward, and raised thre issue again at the Fisheries Committee meeting in 2001.  With support from Canada, China and the US, to mention the most active, the proposal was approved, and the first sub-committee meeting was hosted by China in 2002.

12 years ago, in 2003, Norway hosted the second meeting of the aquaculture sub-committee. Here in Trondheim in conjunction with the AquaNor.

In 2003 Norwegian aquaculture production had increased to 510.000 tons through a period with great achievements in feed development, production methods and disease control, but also with market challenges.

Today, another 10 years later, Norwegian aquaculture has developed into a mature industry presenting one of Norway’s major export products.

The production has grown steadily to over 1,2 million tons last year, and the prediction is 4 million tons in 2050. That figure implies an annual growth of 4%.

Quite realistic looking at the sector’s development and growth rate until now.

All human activities and all food production leave foot prints in nature, That is unenviable. The challenge is to improve production systems, introduce new technology and apply sophisticated control measures to such an extent that makes further growth environmental and social acceptable.

How did the guidelines agreed on in the code of conduct address and direct the aquaculture development that in 1995 was to come, and that we today have seen ?

With other words, how has the development of aquaculture in Norway met the standards set in the Code of Conduct ?

Legislation, regulation, monitoring and control are one main aspect  in the  Code..

Environment concerns, introduction of non-indigenous species, breeding selection and genetic interaction is another main aspect in the code.

The third aspect addresses stakeholder participation, hygienic and fish health issues and food safety.

I shall not claim we have solved all challenges the development of aquaculture in Norway have met. But we have identified and addressed them. We are working systematically jointly between industry, research and authorities. All policy and regulatory changes are given public hearing.

So I will claim that we to a large extent in the conflicting landscape of  developing a nature based food production, have managed to develop the aquaculture industry in Norway without major detrimental consequences for the surrounding natural environment.

Another observation if looking back 40 years from the early start to the present aquaculture industry is that the sector has been thoroughly regulated from the early years;

A license system was introduced from the early start and from the start in the 70-ies thee regulation was 1 license per company

Research stations for aquaculture was started in 1971.

In 1992 the government imposed a stop in issuing new licenses and froze the allowed cage volume at each license.

In 2004 came the Food Law and in 2005 the new Aquaculture Law introducing new regulatory measures as animal health  Fish health, fish welfare and food safety has since then been a focus area in Norwegian aquaculture regulations.

In 2009 we launched a new Environment Strategy for Aquaculture addressing five major areas; genetic interaction and escape, pollution and emission, disease and lice, area utilization, and the fifth “feed and feed resources,

While the earlier regulations had “who” at focus in licensing the new Aquaculture changed the focus from “Who” to “How” thus addressing the environment aspects already in the issuance of licenses

Some will claim that in spite of all this regulations and government control the industry has grown.

I will, on the contrary, claim that it is due to these regulations and control that Norwegian aquaculture can show a steady growth through 40 years without any major outburst of diseases ruining large part of the industry.

We call this model “Controlled Growth” and in cooperation with FAO where we, as an element in FAOs Blue Growth Initiative will contribute, as found appropriate, with transfer of knowledge to support aquaculture growth worldwide.

By this the Norwegian Footprint will be increased production and supply of nutritious food and global assistance in introducing the “Controlled Growth” concept in developing countries.

This, good colleagues, will be the Norwegian contribution to the implementation of the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.


Thank you for your kind attention