Norway’s seafood sector calls for action

Seafood Norway, the industry employer organisation, has backed its government’s new aquaculture strategy, describing it as ambitious. But it also says the industry is keen to get moving and has called on the authorities to show more action in achieving the strategy’s goals.

Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen unveiled his 10-15 year action plan titled A Sea of Opportunities last week. The government is aiming for a national annual production target five million tonnes of salmon and trout by 2050.

Jon Arne Grøttum, director of aquaculture at Seafood Norway, said: “Norway is a global leader in aquaculture, and we are pleased that the Government is so forward-thinking when it comes to ambitions and what they want.

A Sea of Opportunities is an important message for anyone who is interested in the development of the seafood industry. “

“We perceive that there is broad political agreement on these goals, says Grøttum. But he wanted the message to be even more concrete.

He said he believed that the growing global demand for healthy food production from the sea provides opportunities that Norway is equipped to meet. But international competition in the aquaculture industry is constantly increasing, he warned.

Grøttum stressed: “Precisely for this reason we are also impatient. The success of the aquaculture industry has been a good collaboration between the business sector , the authorities and the research communities. It is invaluable that we ensure good cooperation in the future as well. We are keen to show the way.”

Grøttum also said that although a clear direction has been set, a great deal of important work remains to be carried out.

As expected, the strategy has not been welcomed by some environmental groups. Live Kleveland, spokesperson for the Animal Welfare Alliance called for fish welfare to be introduced into the traffic light scheme , adding that talk about welfare in the report was too vague.

She said the mortality rate for salmon in both the sea phase and the hatchery phase is too high, and pointed out that the Veterinary Institute in its last Fish Health Report estimated 50 million had died in cages and at farms from various (non-harvest related) issues.