3 Seas and oceans
Norway is a maritime nation and must continue to develop a knowledge base and a management regime that promotes sustainable industrial development and a healthy marine environment. The ocean and the coastline have played, and continue to play, an important role in the development of Norwegian society and have shaped much of Norway’s national identity. The value of the natural surroundings and the experiences afforded by the oceans and coastal areas are important for Norwegian culture, outdoor recreation and tourism. Norway’s trade and economy are closely linked to the sea, from shipping and shipbuilding to seafood, oil and gas. New ocean-based industry based on innovative products, services and technology is also emerging. A major proportion of Norwegian value creation comes from the ocean and the continental shelf.
In spite of the ocean’s past and present significance for Norway, there is still relatively little known about it compared to knowledge about land areas. Thus the seas and oceans may hold great opportunities that have yet to be unleashed. Norway’s natural advantages have made it possible to develop dynamic academic and research groups and industries related to the ocean. Important segments of higher education, for example in technology, are aimed at exploiting resources on, in or under the ocean. It is important that educational programmes enable graduates to utilise the foremost new knowledge and technology to expand the maritime industries and be better stewards of marine resources. Social science and humanities perspectives must be incorporated into ocean-related research and education. For example, there is a need to understand how people, at different times and in different parts of the world, have used and are using the ocean, and how they are interpreting and adapting to changes in the climate and species diversity. Knowledge about the ocean and industrial activities is pivotal to efforts to develop a sound regulatory framework for how best to exploit it. Understanding of seas and oceans is also crucial to the ability to understand and deal with climate-related and environmental challenges in Norway and across the globe.
The ocean is undergoing change as a result of climate change, acidification and discharges of pollutants such as hazardous substances and plastic waste. This affects not only the marine environment, but also the basis for future ocean industries. Knowledge about such changes and the ability to predict and counteract them is of critical importance, both for the management of species and ecosystems and for further development of ocean industries. This will also facilitate environmental improvements and strengthen green competitiveness in maritime industries.
The Government gives high priority to matters relating to seas and oceans. The Government will contribute to sustainable value creation and employment in the maritime industries by ensuring good framework conditions and soundly managed ecosystems, promoting the development of knowledge and technology and strengthening the international competitiveness of ocean-based industry.
A long-term commitment to knowledge and expertise related to the sustainable use of the ocean and the maritime industries will make it possible to exploit the resources in the ocean and on the continental shelf in a better, more sustainable manner. It will also help to preserve healthy and productive oceans for generations to come.
The Government will:
strengthen research and higher education and the development of new technology in order to increase the value of the industries in ocean and coastal areas and on the continental shelf;
prioritise research as a basis for sound management of ecosystems and resources in ocean and coastal areas;
prioritise research for clean and productive seas and healthy and safe seafood.