Norwegian government still upbeat over 2050 production target

The Norwegian government has launched its new forward strategy for the aquaculture industry, setting a course for the next 10 to 15 years.

The main goal is still to produce five million tonnes of salmon and trout by 2050, five times the current level. Other goals include producing sustainable seafood with a low climate and environmental footprint and maintaining good fish health and welfare, along with more sustainable feed.

Fisheries and Seafood Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said he wants to ensure good access to markets, good food safety and a profitable and secure industry along the entire coast.

He declared: “The aquaculture industry has become an important industry in Norway and is our second largest export industry. With this strategy, the government wants to set the course for the next 10-15 years and facilitate sustainable growth in the aquaculture industry. The strategy lays down guidelines on how we together – business, the research community and the authorities – should solve the challenges we face and seize new opportunities.”

The minister also hinted that he thought volumes in special permit sea cages too high in areas where there are challenges, without setting out how he planned to deal with the issue. However, there is no plan to insist on closed cage farming.

The strategy report says the industry has a large predominance of family businesses and local ownership which provides a good starting point for further development of local communities along the entire coast. With its potential for further development, the aquaculture industry will be important for Norway’s path out of the coronavirus crisis and into the future.

The strategy also launches several new measures. A committee will be set up to review the regulation of the aquaculture industry, focusing on regulatory system’s objectives, how it operates as a whole and how it can be adapted to meet current and future challenges.

The Norwegian government, facing a tricky general election in September, says it hopes to start work this autumn.

The report continues: “The government has great ambitions for the aquaculture industry. If Norway is to succeed as an aquaculture nation in the future, we must have a profitable industry with competitive framework conditions.

“We must ensure good market access and find solutions to sustainability challenges. Development of new technology gives rise to new forms of production and new products, and here there has been a significant development in recent years. A technology-neutral approach to government requirements and to conditions for growth in production is an important basis for further development and growth.

“The industry can play an even more important role if we are able to handle the challenges the industry faces and seize the new opportunities. This places not only demands on the industry itself, but also on management and research.

“With this strategy, the government wants to see the development in a 10-15 year perspective going forward with a focus on how we will together handle both the challenges and the opportunities we face.

“The goal of the aquaculture strategy is to facilitate new sustainable growth and show direction for one of Norway’s most important industries.”

In its Seafood Barometer report for 2021, consultancy firm PwC cast doubt on the target of five million tonnes of salmon and trout, suggesting that a “base case” of 3.7 million tonnes would be more achievable.

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