Speech/statement | Date: 2015-08-18 | Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries
Minister of Fisheries Elisabeth Aspaker - Trondheim, Norway - 18 August 2015
Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is a great honor for me to welcome you all to Aqua Nor 2015.
I am particularly pleased to welcome fellow ministers.
All of our nations are engaged in the safeguarding and sustainable growth of the aquaculture industry.
In addition, all of us realize that collaboration and sharing of insights are vital in order for this industry to secure growth – also in the years to come. To quote the African proverb– if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far – go together.
I would also like to take this opportunity to congratulate the Foundation Nor Fishing with once again organizing this important meeting place. Every second year, starting in 1979, Aqua Nor has been an important international venue for the aquaculture industry.
- This is where the Apples and Teslas of the aquaculture industry first sees the break of day.
- This is where new deals are broken and bonds forged.
- And this is where politicians and industry leaders convene and share their insights and expertise.
Exhibitors, visitors and delegations from all the major aquaculture countries are represented here in Trondheim this week. All here to celebrate industry best practices; share insights into new and groundbreaking research and innovation – and not least - meet new people and dine on the many culinary delicacies of the oceans.
We live in a world in dramatic change. While our climate is shifting, world population is increasing by the day. By 2050 there will be 9 billion people on Earth. The demand for clean and affordable energy will surge. And, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – food demand will increase by a staggering 100%.
Feeding a growing world population IS one of the major challenges facing the global community today.
And fish and seafood ARE a crucial part of the solution.
The global aquaculture industry has a lot to be proud of. It has developed significantly in the years since Aqua Nor was first established 36 years ago. Not least with respect to the development and implementation of new technologies, processes and services.
The potential for sustainable growth and wealth creation within fisheries and aquaculture is great. Yet, at the same time the industry is faced with challenges related to sustainability and green growth. This is being addressed, by the industry itself and by authorities, all over the world. But we should always strive for more.
We must find ways to produce food so that it does not put the health of our ecological environment at risk.
The good news is that we have more and more examples showing that marine sectors such as fisheries and aquaculture can be managed in a way that meets the three dimensions of sustainability - environmental, social and economic.
Norway is a small country but a big seafood nation. Last year we were the second largest seafood exporter in the world, and we were the 5th largest aquaculture producer.
Today Norwegian seafood is sold to some 140 countries around the world. Every single day Norwegian seafood companies produce 14 million meals of salmon.
In fact one in five people on Earth eat Norwegian salmon – at least once a year. In 2014 the total value of exported fish reached 70 billion NOK (850 million USD). This is an all-time high. Preliminary figures for 2015 indicate that this record will be broken again this year.
Aquaculture has been an important cornerstone of the economy in numerous local communities along the Norwegian coast for the past four decades. And - in our transition from an oil based economy to a knowledge based economy, aquaculture will only grow in importance in the years to come.
In fact the value creation in the Norwegian aquaculture industry is substantially higher when compared with the average of the mainland economy. Furthermore, the industry contributes to the creation of new jobs - both within the industry itself and in other related sectors. For every work place created in the aquaculture industry, four new work places are created in other related industrial areas.
Today the industry is an important platform for the future growth of the Norwegian economy.
Going forward as leading seafood nations, it is vital that we continue to evolve and innovate. And that our focus remains on securing future growth – within the boundaries of the Earth's eco system.
This is why knowledge is at the core of the Norwegian Government's aquaculture policy.
This is why Norway spends as much as 3,6 billion NOK (450 mill USD) annually on marine research.
This is also why the Norwegian Government has announced its plans to support the development of "green" technology and practices that can solve the environmental challenges facing the industry.
The Norwegian Government will furthermore continue to work with the industry facing short term challenges, such as sea lice and escapes – and long term challenges such as the use of coastal areas and feed resources.
In June, the Norwegian Government presented a White Paper on the long term sustainable and predictable growth in the Norwegian Aquaculture industry. The White Paper investigates how we can ensure environmentally sustainable production.
I look forward to continuing the fruitful dialogue with the industry and other stakeholders in the process of implementing the new system for environmentally sustainable growth in the coming months.
Our world is changing fast – and in a sense growing smaller. What happens in one country may quickly affect the conditions in another. That is why it is important that we continue to work together to solve challenges and seize opportunities facing this amazing industry.
One area where we must step up our efforts is the fight against fisheries crime. This is a topic close to my heart. It threatens the fishing industry all over the world – the livelihood of millions of people and the health of the oceans. That is why Norway earlier this year initiated the North Atlantic Fisheries Intelligence Group. In this group the members will work together to strengthen the information exchange on everything from illegal flow of capital to social dumping within the fishing industry.
Illegal fishing and trading is not only a threat to sustainability and the environment. It also provides the basis for a vast black economy. This simply cannot continue! And all of us have a role to play in this respect.
Another area where international cooperation is important is with regard to international standards and requirements ensuring sustainable practices in aquaculture. Twenty years ago the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) established the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. This code includes important general guidelines for responsible aquaculture. Guidelines which are valid to this day and forms the basis of a sustainable industry.
While fish and seafood represent viable solutions to the global challenge of food scarcity – it is our responsibility to make sure that these opportunities are harvested. In the best possible way - for the oceans – and for future generations.
And yes – let's not forget the young generation. Because we need to ensure that they truly open their eyes for the prospects of future employment in the aquaculture industry. And that working outside the big cities and office buildings can be both enticing and inspiring.
In May I visited Finnsnes in Northern Norway and met a 22 year old girl employed in the aquaculture industry. Her name is Malin.
Malin is a great ambassador for the industry and an example to be followed. And she reminded me that for this industry to reach its potential – and to secure sustainable growth in a long term perspective – we must continue to attract young people to the aquaculture industry and higher education within the blue subjects.
We must continue to motivate the young – and in particular women – to join one of the most innovative and future oriented industries we have. And probably the most important one when it comes to future food production.
Aqua Nor provides an excellent opportunity for the aquaculture industry to display its most novel solutions and gadgets to the world. And for all generations – young and old – to be inspired by the excellence and robustness of an industry in rapid growth.
It's my pleasure to declare Aqua Nor 2015 opened.
Thank you for your attention!