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Prime Minister’s introduction at press conference on the revised marine management plans

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Norway is a maritime nation. Throughout our history, people have depended on the oceans and gained a livelihood at sea. Today, people working in the fishing industry, shipping and the petroleum industry all live off ocean resources.

Norway is also a pioneer of integrated, ecosystem-based ocean management. We use our management plans to safeguard species and ecosystems, promote value creation and employment, and ensure sound resource management.

The oceans – both Norway’s waters and the world’s oceans – offer huge potential for meeting the global need for resources, creating jobs and promoting economic and social development. Without sustainable growth in ocean-based industries around the world, we will not be able to realise this potential.

This was the rationale behind the initiative to establish the High-level Panel for a Sustainable Ocean Economy.

The High-level Panel is working to increase international understanding of how using the oceans sustainably and maintaining good environmental status can lead to significant value creation.

The Panel will be presenting a report that includes an important section on the need to establish integrated management systems to enable us to continue to live off the oceans and also protect the environment.

Today is a good day both for the ocean environment and for the ocean economy.

The development of the management plans has been a rigorous and thorough process.

Public bodies in all relevant sectors, from environmental protection and fisheries to petroleum activities and shipping, have provided assessments and a scientific basis for our work. 

Anyone else with an interest in ocean management has also been given the chance to provide input. This has given us a better basis for making decisions.

Using this approach, we have been able to develop balanced and knowledge-based management plans for all Norway’s sea areas. 

We will make use of our marine resources, but we must also conserve ecosystems so that they can continue to provide the services we all depend on.

This means that we need to cooperate across sectors.

In Norway, one of the ways we do this is through the marine management plans. 

This is in line with Sustainable Development Goal 14 – Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

The revised management plan for the Barents Sea–Lofoten area includes a new definition of the boundary of the marginal ice zone, as announced in the Government’s political platform.

This definition is based on the latest knowledge and ice data, and on the need to give even more weight to environmental considerations.

The new definition of the marginal ice zone will have little effect on the parts of the Barents Sea that are already open for petroleum activities.   

None of the production licences that have already been awarded will be affected.

This means that the effect on current petroleum activities will be very limited. At the same time, the management plans provide a clear framework for future developments.   

This will benefit all of us.

It has been important both for me personally and for the Conservative Party to develop a framework for petroleum activities and other activities that is based on up-to-date scientific knowledge and at the same time provides stability and predictability for business and industry and for value creation. I believe we have succeeded in doing this.

The purpose of the management plans is to provide a framework for value creation while at the same time maintaining the high environmental value of Norway’s marine areas.

In Norway, we have long experience of striking a balance different priorities. 

For 50 years, we have succeeded in maintaining a balance between oil production and fisheries.

And we will manage this balancing act just as well in the time ahead, as seabed mining, offshore wind power and offshore fish farming expand and become more important.

Both the scientific advice and the political debate show that there are differing views on exactly where to strike this balance.

This is also true within the Norwegian Government, but the result we are presenting today follows the basic guidelines that were set out in agreements between the political parties in 2013, 2018 and 2019.

We have now reached a sound compromise.

And I would like to invite the members of the Storting to cooperate on the management plans we are presenting today.

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