NORWAY’S prime minister, Erna Solberg, has said the country needs to develop an aquaculture industry that can deliver food and economic values within an acceptable footprint.
She was speaking at the Havbruck 2018 conference, which gathered the fish farming industry, along with researchers and politicians, for key discussion on future policy. The main theme of this year’s conference was ‘Aquaculture in society’.
Solberg (pictured) said of fish farming: ‘The industry has been a huge success. It creates important jobs and sets off major ripples among communities along the coast.
‘Preliminary calculations from Sintef for last year show that (fish) farmed activity contributed over 62 billion kroner in total GDP value creation.
‘In 2017, the aquaculture industry exported one million tonnes of fish worth NOK 67.7 billion.
‘There has been an adventurous development with a high production of salmon since the start of the 1970s.
‘Challenges have been met and a large proportion of these are solved, using research based knowledge production.
‘Through successful vaccination programmes, many diseases have been combatted, and the industry supplies seafood, production expertise and world-class technology.’
But there were challenges ahead, especially over the environment, feed production and fish welfare, she argued.
‘There are conflicts associated with coastal fishing, wildlife interests, conservation interests, outdoor life and tourism that affect access to the farm areas and, not least, the acceptance of the industry’s environmental impact.
‘We need to further develop an aquaculture industry that can deliver food and economic values within an acceptable footprint.
‘An important part of this – and as is the case today – is the definition of what sort of footprint from aquaculture is acceptable to society.’
She cautioned that there were no industries which had a zero impact. But education, research and technological development should help to reduce any impact and create a better industry.