Åpningstale på AquaNor 2017

Trondheim, 15.august 2017

Your Royal Highness,

Ministers,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen.

 

I would like to welcome all of you to AquaNor 2017 and to Trondheim! 

It is a great pleasure for me to see such a large number of international delegates here this year. A warm welcome to my colleagues from Iceland and Chile!

Over almost 40 years, this tradition of AquaNor here in Trondheim hasgrown into a big, biannual event for the aquaculture industry, friends and partners from all over the world.

Here we meet, greet and keep each other updated. And it is a pleasure for me to be here and finally be part of the AquaNor family!

[AQUACULTURE IN NORWAY]

Aquaculture is still a young industry. In Norway, it started in the small coastal communities here in Trøndelag with smart men and women wanting to earn some money on the side!

Today this industry is one of our most productive and prosperous industries, employing nearly 6000 people, and with growing economic ripple effects through the country.


In 2016, we exported salmon and trout for a record high 7,8 billion US dollars.

Yes, Norwegian salmon is a strong global trademark. Some even call the salmon "the most famous Norwegian abroad"

This is something the aquaculture industry – and many of you people here today – can be very proud of!

A lot of you have been working very hard to get us where we are today. B
ut I still think we are only seeing the beginning.

Like I said, this is a young industry. But with enormous potential.

[SUSTAINABILITY]

Sustainability is absolute key for future success

In my eyes, no matter what industry you're in:

do your business sustainably, or don't do it at all.

In 33 years, there will be 10 billion people on this planet.

Food production will need to increase by 69 per cent in the same period.

Today, less than 5 per cent of global food production comes from the sea. This is not enough!

Also, we know that people on this planet are already consuming resources much faster than they are being renewed


For the world aquaculture industry, sustainability[1] is about

fighting hunger

health and well being

life below water

and about responsible production and consumption of food


These are clear objectives laid out for us by the UN Sustainable Development goals.

And these are crucial in
pushing the sustainability agenda across industries and governments.

I strongly believe that aquaculture can make
a big contribution to the developments goals.

But at the same time
profitability is what drives this industry forward.

Is it possible to align profitability and sustainability?

Yes!

In fact, sustainability can also be a competitive advantage:

aquaculture that promotes food security, health and responsible use of resources – as well as being good business – sounds very close to reality!

Aquaculture already has the advantage of being renewable.

And is one of the most efficient ways of converting feed into high quality food, with a very low carbon footprint compared with other types of protein.

 

It is our responsibility to keep telling the story of the benefits of fish and aquaculture: you me and everybody, over and over again!

And if we succeed in getting the message across, there will be more people out there wishing for the success of aquaculture worldwide.

[DEVELOPMENTS AND POLICY]

One of my objectives is to give Norwegian aquaculture businesses the opportunity to take the next step and to make sure that the industry has stability and predictability

We know there is a considerable potential for growth in the industry. We are now in the process of implementing a new system in the salmon farming industry where growth is both possible and desirable.

But
only if the environmental footprint is acceptable.

We do not tell the farmers how to reach the sustainability objectives. We set the bar high - and expect that a combination of "tough love" and strict terms will spur innovative solutions on their part!

Innovation and new technology in this industry has been a strong priority for my government all along.
 

Today we seebig technological developments emerging, both in equipment and new operational concepts such as offshore facilities and closed facilities in the fjords.

These concepts have been stimulated as a result of innovation licences, which allow for new aquaculture innovations to be tested on a larger scale.

It is still early days, but I am very impressed by the high level of innovation used to shape these new concepts.

It tells me that aquaculture is developing fast!

And that Norwegian companies have technological know-how that may be needed to develop aquaculture globally.

[CONCLUSION]

My friends! We need to increase food production in the world

As aquaculture becomes more important it opens a window of opportunity for seafood nations like like those of us present here today.

This means that all of you fish farmers and suppliers have an incredibly important job to do over the next few years.

It is possible to align sustainability and profitability.

But whether we succeed or not will depend on our willingness in government and the industry to invest in the future.

I will promise to do my part!

I wish you the best of luck with AquaNor 2017!