Åpningsinnlegg Norway-UK Seafood Summit

                                                                                        * Sjekkes mot fremføring

Ladies and gentlemen,

Dear everyone,

It is a great pleasure to be here, at the Norway-UK Seafood Summit.

I want to thank my British counterpart, The Right Honorable Mark Spencer, Minister for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, for joining us today.

I also want to thank the Norwegian Seafood Council for organizing this event.

It is a great pleasure seeing so many industry stakeholders from Norway and the UK gathered here today.

This is a true confirmation of the strong seafood relations between our two countries.


In challenging times, trusted and loyal partners are more important than ever.

And the UK is very much one of Norway’s most trusted partners.

Right now, the geopolitical situation is more uncertain than in a long time, with conflict and war in Ukraine and the Middle East.

Inflation and higher interest rates are affecting both businesses and individuals, including what we buy at the grocery store and put on our dinner plates.

And at the same time, it is urgent to speed up the green transition, also in the blue industry.

Working across borders, and across the North Sea, is key when faced with major challenges.


Norway is a proud supplier of a number of seafood species to the UK.

Last year Norway exported a total of 135 million tonnes of seafood to the UK. 

Showing that the UK-market is very important to the Norwegian seafood industry.

We truly value the close cooperation between our countries.

Not least when it comes to the new framework for veterinary border control of imported seafoods to the UK.

The new requirements for health certificates have already been implemented, and so far, we have not heard of any problems.

I hope this will still be the case when the physical checks begin in April.

And we continue to have a constructive dialogue to reduce barriers for seafood trade between our two countries. 


In a world where the need for healthy, safe and sustainable food is increasing, we must look to the oceans.

The Norwegian seafood industry is constantly working on how to make the production even more sustainable.

And I am proud of all the hard work that is done by the seafood sector in Norway.

At the same time, we must acknowledge that there is always room for improvement.

The aquaculture industry has challenges which must be resolved.

Too many fish die before slaughter.

In many cases because laws and regulations are not followed.

It is unacceptable.

If the industry wants to grow, things must be done properly and according to regulations.

The fish must be taken better care of.

The Norwegian Government is now preparing a White Paper on animal welfare that covers all animals, where we will look into how to better secure good life quality for farmed fish.

And I can promise you that the work to promote good fish health and welfare is something I take very seriously.


The Norwegian Government wants to facilitate a sustainable development of the Norwegian fishing industry.

In January we launched a white paper on fishing quotas for Norwegian fisheries.

In short, we want the resources of the sea to be distributed in a more fair and predictable way.

Securing diversity in the fishing fleet and creating more year-round jobs.

In the area of fisheries management, Norway and the UK have many similar views and practices.

We already work closely together in this area, and we trust that our fruitful bilateral cooperation will strengthen the ties between us, as we develop the seafood industry further.


But - to develop the seafood industry further, we need both men and women onboard.

Traditionally the seafood industry, as well as the whole maritime industry, has been male dominated.

The Norwegian Government wants that to change.

Therefore, The Norwegian Government launched an equality strategy for the maritime industry last year.

And this year we have followed up on this initiative and started working on a declaration of cooperation with the maritime industry, to achieve increased gender equality at sea - and in the sea-related industries.

Diversity is good for innovation.

It is good for profits.

And for developing strong, local coastal communities.

This applies not just to Norway.

The maritime sector is indeed a very global sector.

We believe international collaboration on gender equality in the maritime sector will be very important in the coming years.

We have everything to gain by getting more women onboard in the seafood sector, as well as all ocean-based industries.


Dear seafood friends,

Norway is a small country. But at sea we are a major player.

Having the second longest coastline in the world, the ocean has connected us to the world.
And the UK is one of our closest seafood partners.

We work closely, both in regional and international forums.

We share common views on several management issues.

And I look forward to working together with our UK-partners to further strengthen the blue ties between our two countries.

Thank you so much for your attention.