North Atlantic Seafood Forum 2018

Outlook for Norway's seafood sector

Innlegget til statssekretær Roy Angelvik under NASF 7. mars 2018.

                                                                                         Sjekk mot fremføring

Ministers, Excellencies, 

Ladies and Gentlemen, 

It is a great pleasure to welcome you all to Bergen, the ocean city! 

Bergen is indeed a marine city. 

A city build on export of seafood through hundreds of years.

Home to large companies.

Within both aquaculture and pelagic fisheries. 

If we look at people investing in the market, we know they naturally wants the best return on their money. 

I would say, in the big picture, an investment in knowledge pays the best revenue. 

The city of Bergen gives tremendous contributions to marine knowledge. Being also home to research institutions – well known and recognized internationally. 

In short, knowledge is the backbone in a healthy seafood industry. We live in a world where the need for food, energi and transport increases rapidly. At the same time, climate and environmental change is among our biggest challenges today.

We gathered here at NASF; know that the ocean offers many of the solutions in response to these national and global challenges. 

Among them – healthy and tasty seafood. 

To make the most of our resources, cooperation is a key word. 

Norway aims to strengthen cooperation with relevant nations through marine dialogues. 

Our Prime Minister, Erna Solberg, has launched plans for an international high-level panel for Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy.  

The high-level panel will include Heads of Government in a number of coastal states. 

Norway and the Prime Minister want to do this in close cooperation with the UN. 

The panel will be a tool for closer bilateral contact on environmental issues, business and other marine related themes.

***

Seafood means basic food, work and income. 

However, how vital are fisheries in the global economy? Or, should I rather say, what is threatening the blue economy? 

We know that more than 50 per cent of the global trade in fisheries come from developing countries. 

Unfortunately, it is no secret that transnational organized criminal networks is undermining nations' capacity:

  1. To promote food security,
  2. To reduce poverty, and
  3. To fund development activities.

On the other hand, we are luckily long past the days where our oceans were a place beyond laws and regulation. 

Today, fighting fisheries crime must be a priority for the international community. 

I am happy to say that the Nordic countries have joined forces on this issue. 

Last year, a minister declaration on transnational organized fisheries crime was adopted in the Nordic Council of Ministers. 

So how do we continue to combat these crimes? 

A good first step is to find a common understanding of what fisheries crime is. 

A second step is to join forces to create an effective global response to this brutal offense to both humans and human food resources. 

Our goal is not only to stop the vessel from illegal fishing, but also to catch, investigate and prosecute the persons behind the crime. 

To do this, we must think and act globally. 

International problems demand international solutions, and international cooperation. 

In Indonesia, they have introduced "the multiple door approach" to fight fisheries crime. 

This means a close cooperation all along the value chain. 

Norway uses the same approach.

We believe in looking at the bigger picture – from hook to plate – is the way forward!

Luckily,  efforts against fisheries crime is now gaining international momentum. 

***

Norway is the world's second largest seafood exporter after China.   

To ensure market access for Norwegian seafood products is naturally a key priority for the government.

Currently we have two main priorities. 

One is the opening of China; where we see positive developments.

In the two first months of 2018, we have exported salmon to China worth seven times what we did in the same period last year.   

However, we should also recall that China is very important market both for cod and for mackerel. 

Following up free trade negotiations with China is therefore a key priority for 2018.

*** 

The second is ensuring seafood trade interests in light of Brexit.  

I will move on to saying a few words on Brexit.

International agreements on fisheries management is Norway's main concern for this industry.

For over 40 years, the United Kingdom has been a member of the EU.

As they now are leaving the EU, they become an important Coastal State in fisheries negotiations. 

Norway shares fish stocks with both the UK and the EU.

These stocks are of great importance for the industry in all three parties.

This applies in particular to the management of common stocks in the North Sea.

Norway is committed to maintaining the best possible cooperation with both the EU and the UK. 

I believe we have succeeded in having a good dialogue. 

Moreover, we have shared our thoughts on how we look on a future cooperation with both parties. 

I would like to underline, that in the case of transitional arrangements, this is a question between the EU and the United Kingdom. 

However, it is important that  what Norway negotiates with the EU for the following year in the transition period, also is binding for the UK for the whole year. 

Our object is to have in place a  new management regime in due time, including all three parties. 

That is, before the transitional period for Britain's exit from the EU.

*** 

I will pass on to my last topic by asking you a question.

Do we expect fish production to grow? 

In fact, yes, we do expect fish production to grow. Thanks to fish farming.

However, the industry has a clear responsibility to operate sustainably, and if necessary, solve environmental challenges. 

Norwegian aquaculture of salmon and trout is a story of success. 

Still, we are experiencing some environmental challenges in the salmon farming industry. 

Last year a new national system to enable environmentally sustainable growth was put into force. 

The system is based on:

1. Grouping the Norwegian coast into production areas,

2. Environmental indicators, and

3. The traffic light principle for growth. 

This means that each production area gets a green, amber, or red light.

Based on the impact of sea lice on wild salmonids – from the salmon farming industry. 

A green light means farmers might be offered production growth. 

A red light could mean the production capacity has to be reduced. 

While amber means it usually has to stay where it is. 

The new regulations are an effort to allow the industry to grow in areas where it is environmentally sustainable. 

In addition, it aims to sustain or reduce the impact of sea lice on wild salmon where this is necessary. 

Another important way to support sustainability is for the aquaculture industry to develop significant technology. 

New farming concepts and new technology can contribute to decrease the industry's environmental impact, as well as release new areas for aquaculture. 

I am glad to say that in Norway, new and exciting operating concepts are now in the making. 

Both onshore and offshore.

I hope it will continue to strengthen our all-ready world leading aquaculture supplier industry. 

***

Dear all, I am about to end my speech by summing up.

  1. There is a rising demand for nutritious seafood.  Moreover, it must be produced sustainably. 
  1. Sharing knowledge and competence creates the foundation for new ideas, new values ​​and new jobs. 
  1. My government will continue to be an active supporter of the seafood industry. 

We are continuously working to develop and improve the industry's framework conditions, and to strengthen the competitive force.

However, only the industry itself must sit in the driver's seat. 

I wish you all a successful conference! 

Thank you!