Aquaculture debate goes nationwide

NORWAY’S ongoing debate about how plans for huge future growth in aquaculture should be managed has taken on a nationwide focus.

During the last few days and into this week, more than 20 organisations from the industry, research groups and the environment have been holding a series of dialogue meetings in Oslo so they can give their views on how fish farming can become more sustainable.

The government has set an ambitious long-term target of five million tonnes of farmed fish – mostly salmon, more than four times the current output.

Geir Ove Ystmark, CEO of the industry organisation Seafood Norway, said: ‘When we presented our vision, Havbruk 2030, in August last year, we received positive feedback on the work we had started.

‘We believe that Norwegian aquaculture can provide our country’s most important contribution to achieving the UN’s sustainability goals. It is ambitious, but it is also within reach.’

The first strategy document from this week’s meetings should be ready by March this year.

But Ystmark stressed that the seafood industry should not work in its own bubble: ‘We are committed to doing the right things to develop Norwegian aquaculture in the best possible way.’

So far the meetings have covered sustainability and fish health and welfare. Tomorrow the focus will be on research and business, and the impact of growth on coastal communities will be discussed on Wednesday.

In parallel with Havbruk 2030, Seafood Norway is also working with another vision – Seafood Industry 2030 – which aims to expand the fish catching and processing sector over the next 12 years.

Picture: Geir Ove Ystmark

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