Torskekonferanse i London 2018

Tale - Norwegian seafood – today and in the future

Veronica Pedersen Åsheim sitt innlegg på torskekonferansen Norwegian – UK Seafood Summit 2018 – What does the future hold for British seafood consumption

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Seafood friends!What a pleasure to be here in London! The capital of Fish & Chips!

First, I would like to thank the Norwegian Seafood Council for organizing this seminar.  Second, I am glad to see so many here today. Both British and Norwegian participants. I hope this seminar will bring a lot of inspiration and new knowledge. Help us work better together. Establish new business connections. And warm and close relationships.

 Norway and the United Kingdom are both great sea nations. Our two countries have been trade partners for centuries. And we still are.  

 Throughout the history, fishery has been a major industry in Norway. Norway has a long coastline. Our country is extremely well suited for seafood production. Today, seafood is one of Norway's leading export industries. The value of Norwegian seafood exports reached again an all-time high last year. We exported 2,6 million tonnes of seafood worth nearly 8,9 billion British pounds.

There is no doubt. Seafood is important for Norway. And will continue to be so, in the future. The ocean plays a crucial role in providing food for a growing world population. The ocean represents huge opportunities. That is why we must make sure to use the marine resources sustainably. As a globally leading seafood nation, Norway has a particular responsibility. We have great ambitions for this industry. We want to contribute to provide the world with even more seafood. But we have to do things right. We all have to treat the ocean well. And we all have to use the ocean even smarter in the future than we do today.

Norway is – together with our neighbouring countries and the rest of the world – responsible to ensure that marine resources are managed sustainably. Today, we enjoy the world's most abundant cod stock in the Barents Sea. This situation would not have been possible without a close and constructive fisheries cooperation with Russia. We will continue to work this way and make sure we also have this good cooperation in the future.

High-tech in the seafood industry has been tremendous over the last years. Today we have one of the most modern fishing fleet in the world. New and environmental friendly vessels are replacing older ones. A couple of weeks ago, I visited a top modern Norwegian owned vessel named Granit. Granit is Norway's largest and newest whitefish trawler. They are producing frozen fish, fishmeal, oil as well as protein concentrate at sea. I must say I was impressed how it uses the by-products from cutting whitefish on board the ship. Fascinating.

Ramoen is another great example. This is an environmental friendly vessel, that is using a 100 percent of each fish. Producing fresh fish, frozen at sea immediately to optimise the taste. The focus of the modern fishing vessel today is to deliver high quality. From catch until it reaches the consumer - all around the world. Modern technology makes this possible. I know that Norwegian companies here today are eager to offer the British people more seafood. Sustainable and high quality seafood.

However, we should all eat more seafood! It is good for your body and your brain. In Norway, the seafood consumption is decreasing dramatically. Especially among young people. I understand you have the same challenges here in the UK. This is sad. We need to change this pattern. We are already facing huge challenges when it comes to our children's health and well-being. This has a lot do to with what we eat. The reason for why the seafood consumption among youngsters is decreasing in Norway is complex. One of the reasons appears to be the misinterpretation that fish is hard to prepare and takes too much time. Which couldn't be more wrong. It is a myth and a misunderstanding. Because, seafood can be fast food. And the children love it! We just have to convince their parents.

That is why the Norwegian government is supporting smaller and bigger initiatives from institutions, organizations, companies and individuals that want to show how to prepare a good and tasty seafood meal.

I visited Hamburg last year. I attended a cooking class with top chefs. I was truly surprised by many of the tasty dishes made from cod. Ravioli made of cod, for example. What a great idea! Swap the minced meat with cod! This is the future. New ways of preparing seafood for our children. There are thousands of different ways to prepare tasty seafood. The processing industry must focus and follow the mind of the consumers. Easy to prepare, new taste and delicate wrapping in order to compete with the chicken and the pork at the local stores. It is convenience. It is taste. And if it is healthy this is also very positive. The organization Seafish here in the UK wants to double the seafood consumption in the UK by  the year 2040. That is good news. This is music in my ears. I hope the industry is well prepared and ready to contribute to make it happen!

The United Kingdom is among Norway's most important trading partners. Exports to the UK account for around one 5th of Norway's total exports of goods and services. Norway has a strong seafood market position in the United Kingdom, especially for cod and haddock. Overall, the UK was the 5th most important single market for Norwegian seafood last year.

Brexit will be a challenge to us all. After the UK has left the EU, we will have shared fish stocks with both  UK and the EU. We will have to establish new agreements on how to cooperate in the future. The divorce between UK and the EU will be a matter for the two parties to solve. However, the fact that we share some the stocks involved in the process will affect us. We want to avoid a vacuum the day you leave the European Union. Therefore, it is important that we establish a dialogue on how to address different issues. Our goal is to establish a new framework of cooperation between Norway, UK and the EU after Brexit. This is necessary in order to secure sustainability and long-term yield.

Dear seafood friends,

Every day about 36 million meals with seafood from Norway are served around the world in more than 140 different countries. I hope that Norway will be able to contribute to deliver even more delicious seafood in the future. Thank you for your attention, and I look forward to hearing more thoughts especially on how to get more youngsters to eat seafood here today.

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