Your Excellency, Ambassador,
Ladies and Gentlemen, Buenas tardes queridos amantes de pescado.
What a great pleasure it is to be here in Vigo with you!
Knowing that Vigo is the largest fishing port in Europe, there is no better place to meet and discuss seafood!
First of all, thank you for inviting me here today.
I am here as a relatively newly appointed state secretary of fisheries. I have to admit that I am very grateful to have this position in Norway- Norway is the second largest seafood supplier in the world.
Earlier today, I got the opportunity to visit the Seafood Exhibition and the Norwegian pavilion. While I was there, I had some very interesting discussions and I even got a taste of our very own excellent seafood!
Spain is one of the largest markets for fish and seafood in Europe, and . for many years Spain has had the second largest annual fish and seafood consumption per capita in Europe, after your neighbourrs Portugal.
Today, Spain is the eighth largest market for Norwegian seafood.
The value of Norwegian seafood exported to Spain has increased the last 3 years mostly due to the export of Norwegian salmon. In 2015 we set a new record with the value of exports to Spain reaching more than 360 million Euros. That is almost 30 percent higher than the year before.
Even though the salmon dominates the exports, Norwegian cod is still an important commodity. And the historic ties between Spain and Norway when it comes to cod, go back a long time.
In the seafood industry we are speaking in terms of "sea to plate" traceability to meet growing consumer demand. Today the consumer wants to know exactly where the fish on teir plate comes from.
This year, we were celebrating the 20-year anniversary of the famous Norwegian Skrei in Spain.
In addition to salmon and cod Norway exports lots of other species that could just as well end up on a Spanish plate. And that is why I am here today, to strengthen our good relationship, and to open up the Spanish marked for even more Norwegian seafood.
Last year Norway exported seafood for almost 8 billion Euros, and so far, in 2016 we are continuing to break these records.
I know it is difficult to grasp such a number. So let me put it like this: Norwegian salmon is served over 36 million times a day at dinner tables around the world. This means that, every day, almost seven times more people than the entire population of Norway, eat Norwegian fish for dinner! Every singel day!
But even though we are breaking export records, the Norwegian seafood industry still has a great potential for growth.
In 2012, a group of scientists from the Norwegian research institute SINTEF published a report. In the report the authors predict that the marine sector has a potential to increase its turnover sixfold by 2050.
This is also supported by the OECD- report Future of the Ocean Economy. This report points out that between 2010 and 2030, the ocean economy can more than double its contribution to global wealth. We have to work hard together to ensure that this will happen.
The famous explorer Jacques Cousteau once said:
“With earth’s growing human population to feed we must turn to the sea with understanding and new technology. We need to farm it as we farm the land.”
I could not agree more. However, this demands something of us.
There is much we do not know, but some things are almost certain:
- The world and its growing population needs more food in the years to come.
- The climate challenges demand a more sustainable food production system.
- And last but not least, we need to eat healthier.Seafood is good both your body and your brain.
Seafood can be the solution to all these challenges for the future.
I believe that we must emphasize more strongly just how important seafood is. Feeding a growing world population is one of the major tasks facing the global community today. Seafood contains high levels of nutrients - important for human health - and not commonly found in other foods.
Today less than 5 per cent of global food production comes from the sea. So here we have a huge untapped potential..
However, it is important to realize that the living resources from the sea are renewable, but not limitless. Therefore, long-term sustainable use requires a commitment to long-term thinking.
Norway has a long tradition for responsible harvesting from our oceans. Our policies for the seafood industry have three main priorities:
- First, we need to have a sustainable management. Norway is a leading nation when it comes to regulating marine resources – we must continue to do so in the future.
To manage this we need to focus on knowledge and research.
Important tasks in this respect are to continue our global efforts to fight fishery crime and the problem of discarding fish- an unacceptable waste of food. We have to use the whole fish.
- Second, consumers have to be sure that Norwegian seafood is safe to eat.
And i can tell you, the most dangerous with norwegian seafood is that you dont' it it!
It is important to highlight that around 13 000 farmed fish are analysed yearly for illegal and undesirable substances. The levels are below the EU limit values, and several contaminants even show a downward trend in farmed fish.
We know that there are numerous factors that challenge all food production.
In the seafood industry, there are challenges we have to address.
Let me assure you that the industry itself, in close cooperation with research institutions and the government are putting in all resources available to overcome this, in line with our high standards.
- Third, we must facilitate a profitable and competitive marine sector.
- This means we have to provide flexibility and better conditions for the industry.
- We must stimulate research and innovation. This is a key in finding new ways of cultivating our blue resources such as seaweed or the use of offshore technology in fish farming.
- Finally, it is to strengthen existing and opening new markets for our seafood products.
If there is one thing I have learned about the seafood industry, it is that opportunities from the sea are great.
In order to sustainably manage our marine resources, knowledge is of the utmost importance.In Norway we possess knowledge about the whole seafood industry, and this makes us an important global actor, now and in the future.
In order to secure the ocean environment we invest heavily in research and innovation. This will take us into the future of fisheries. We are leading in the field of aquaculture technology. This is a know-how we can and want to share with other nations. Aquaculture is a sector in rapid growth here in Spain. And I also want you to know that Norway is more than happy to contribute to this growth. This way we togehter can make an important contribution to the world food production.
I hope and believe that the good relations between Norway and Spain in seafood will only continue to grow in the future.
Thank you for your attention!
A sido on gran placer!