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Åpning av seminaret "From Ocean to plate"

Tale holdt av fiskeriministeren under seminaret "From Ocean to Plate" i Brasilia 4. april

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear colleagues,

Welcome to this seminar about Norwegian fisheries and aquaculture management – from ocean to plate.

As the title reveals, today's seminar will take us on a "journey" through the different stages before the fish finally lands on our plates. As the [Norwegian] Minister of Fisheries, it is my privilege to give you an overall presentation from my perspective. I will leave the details of this journey to others.

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The relationship between Norway and Brazil within fisheries has always been special. We are both great ocean nations, with long coastlines and long traditions for harvesting the sea. Our close ties have developed over many years.

In Norway, we greatly appreciate Brazil as an important seafood partner. The cooperation between our nations is well functioning both at a government level and at an industry level. Later, we will hear more about the cross border cooperation between our different authorities.

Norway is one of the largest seafood producers in the world with unique technology in both fisheries and aquaculture. Working alongside some of the world’s best laboratories, we are managing advanced systems that ensure food safety.

 

***

So what are our main priorities in Norway regarding fisheries management?

One word is actually sufficient here: Sustainability.

Sustainable harvesting of the living marine resources is what Norwegian fisheries management is founded on. It is a prerequisite for sustainable harvesting that the marine ecosystems are well functioning.

Securing a functional ecosystem is therefore a basic principle for all activities related to fishing, catch and aquaculture. As well as focusing on quality and food safety in the seafood industry when the fish is caught.  

In our work, we listen carefully to scientific advice and we implement this knowledge in practice. It is essential that governments, research institutions and the seafood industry work together.

Technology is also vital to ensure sustainability. Better science, process innovation and development of equipment and gear are all elements that contribute to improved fishing practices, smarter utilization of the raw material and better management.

This is essential in order to enable the seafood sector to become an even stronger force in global food production.

Thanks to a complete focus on sustainability over many years, Norway has experienced great results at all levels. Norway exports seafood for more than 10 billion dollars annually, and we are one of the largest seafood exporters in the world. I guess you can say that fish is to Norway what meat is for Brazil.

To put this in context:

When fish from Norway arrives in Brazil and before finding its way to the plates, it is important to ensure that it is sustainably harvested or farmed, safe and of good quality.

 

***

As most of you are aware, the trade of bacalhau between Norway and Brazil has a long and strong history. First brought to Brazil by the Portuguese, bacalhau has become an important part of the Brazilian kitchen.

Norway is proud to be the major supplier of bacalhau to Brazil, and both the Norwegian Fishing Industry and the authorities feel great responsibility to ensure that the Brazilian consumers continue to prefer "Bacalhau da Noruega".

The variety of recipes that you Brazilians have developed using bacalhau as an ingredient impresses me. I am sure that we have a lot to learn from your way of preparing it.

***

A good cooperation between the food safety authorities is vital to ensure that the bacalhau we produce meet the requirements and demands of the Brazilian consumers. In the end, it is all about the quality. Norwegian and Brazilian food safety authorities have cooperated closely for a number of years. 25 years ago, in 2003 we got a MoU [Memorandum of understanding] in place.

The Brazilian food inspection service MAPA had its first official inspection visit to Norway at the end of September / October 2018. The visit was very successful, and both sides had a lot to learn from each other. Brazilian inspectors are warmly welcomed back at any time.

We also appreciate the opportunity to give input on the new Brazilian regulations for salt fish and clip fish launched in January this year. The new regulation has made the framework for fish trade more predictable, although some uncertainties remain to be solved. Important meetings in that respect will take place this week.

 

***

So what is the prerequisite for a good cooperation between nations?

Trade!

Though economists may argue, many would probably agree on the benefits of (free) trade. Free trade generates wealth by allowing the free flow of goods across international borders without taxes and other such barriers. Free trade helps to lift people out of poverty. 

 

 

As Norway has an open and export oriented economy, trade is of crucial importance to us. To succeed in creating values and securing a sustainable welfare society international trade is an important factor. Norway believes in free trade!

From our point of view it is positive that Mercosur [thereby Brazil] and EFTA have started negotiations for a free trade agreement. Entering into trade agreements binds ourselves to common sets of rules, and all parties involved benefit from doing so.

A common set of rules will therefore benefit both Norwegian and Brazilian companies doing business internationally. We are optimistic in this regard!

***

On a concluding note, I would like to thank the Seafood Council and the embassy for their initiative and for arranging this seminar. This is an important step in bringing this collaboration forward.

I hope that it will also secure a better understanding of the journey from the ocean to the plate.

 

Thank you for your attention!

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