Speech by Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the opening of The Salmon, a science centre devoted to Norwegian salmon and the process of salmon farming, Oslo 27 February 2019.
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Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you very much for inviting me to be here for the opening of The Salmon.
I greatly appreciate having this opportunity, because Norwegian aquaculture is important.
Not just for Norway and the Norwegian economy, but also for the rest of the world.
Aquaculture is a key industry for Norway – also as we look to the future.
In 2018, we exported salmon worth 67.8 billion Norwegian kroner.
The salmon industry is already making a significant contribution to Norwegian society.
It is also helping to further develop the robust local communities along our coastline.
The Government would like the aquaculture industry to continue to grow. And we are seeking to facilitate this.
It is important that this growth is profitable and sustainable, and that we deliver to markets where there is a demand for our products.
This means that we have to address the challenges we are facing. We need more innovation, and more research and development.
We must deal with problems such as salmon lice and fish escapes, and conflicts relating to fish feed and area use.
I want Norway to play a leading role in addressing these challenges.
We must show that it is possible to combine fisheries and aquaculture with ocean protection.
New technology and knowledge are crucial if we are to develop the aquaculture industry in a sustainable manner.
Fortunately, we have highly competent fish farmers and a world-leading supplier industry to advance the industry.
Continued growth in this sector is important for successful restructuring of the Norwegian economy.
Norway is a small country with an open economy.
We are more dependent on international trade in goods and services than most other countries.
The Government is working continuously to ensure competitive conditions for the seafood industry.
We are negotiating new free trade agreements, and we are updating the agreements we already have.
The UK is one of our most important growth markets for seafood.
The UK is now in the middle of the Brexit process, and we are working to ensure that access to the UK market for Norwegian seafood will be at least as good in the future as it is today.
The Asian market is becoming more and more important.
When we see what an appetite the Chinese have for Norwegian fish, it goes without saying that a free trade agreement with China is important for Norway.
Sustainable use of the oceans has run like a ‘blue thread’ through Norway’s history.
The oceans provide the basis for our welfare and prosperity.
But we won’t be able to harvest living marine resources in the future unless the oceans are clean.
That is my main message in international meetings on the oceans.
One of the UN Sustainable Development Goals is to end hunger by 2030. At present, less than 5 % of the food consumed worldwide comes from the oceans. There is huge potential for increasing this share.
Farmed fish is, and will remain, an important part of global food production.
In Norway, we have long experience of harvesting resources from the oceans without depleting them.
An important element in our development policy is to share our knowledge of integrated sustainable management of marine resources.
The Government has presented an ambitious ocean strategy, for efforts at both the national and the global level.
Research and knowledge are crucial if we are to succeed.
Norway has established the International High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.
The aim is to develop a common understanding of the state of the world’s oceans.
And to draw up a set of recommendations for their sustainable use.
As Chair of the panel, I will draw on Norway’s experience to enhance understanding of how environmentally sound and sustainable use of the oceans can help the world to meet its needs for food, energy, minerals and medicines.
The Government’s most important goal is to create a sustainable welfare-based society.
And all the indications are that the Norwegian aquaculture industry will be vital for reaching that goal.
I hope that both the people of Oslo and tourists visiting our capital will take the opportunity to visit The Salmon.
It’s a great place to learn about this crucial industry – and perhaps clear up a few misconceptions as well.
I am delighted to declare that The Salmon is now officially open.
Congratulations, and I wish you every success.