Norway’s vibrant seafood economy
Norway’s vibrant seafood industry contributes a significant amount to the country’s economy. Live catch and farmed fish make up one of the most important export products after petroleum and metals, accounting for NOK 39.1 billion (USD 5.8 billion) or 4% of Norway’s total export revenues, making Norway the second largest exporter after China.
Something for everyone – Norwegian seafood creates traditions worldwide
The great taste of Norwegian seafood is no secret. Supermarket freezers and restaurant menus the world over boast of “Norwegian salmon” or “Norwegian cod”, or mussels, shrimps, mackerel – in short almost any seafood dish you care to mention becomes endowed with authority and a mark of quality by that very label, “Norwegian.” In fact, nearly thirty million people enjoy Norwegian seafood – every day. With its unrivalled diversity and high quality at every stage of production, Norwegian seafood is the undisputed number one choice, no matter what the recipe is or where it is from.
Stockfish & clipfish – a colourful history
At long as any one can remember, enormous schools of cod have been migrating south from the Barents Sea to the Lofoten region in northern Norway to reproduce. According to historical records, Othere – the Norse navigator and explorer of the 9th century – was one of the first to understand that these fish were like money in the bank to the Vikings. Each year, Othere and his followers would hang up the catches to dry. This drying would enable the fish to maintain a high level of quality even under inconsistent storage conditions – and would become destined to be a high source of protein to many different cultures.
Of all of the types of shellfish, Norwegian crab is one of the most impressive, healthy and tasty additions to a wide number of recipes both in Norway and beyond. These include both the red king crab and the brown crab species, making their home in the clear fresh waters of the Norwegian coastline.
Betting on cod
The Norwegian seafood industry is widely respected for its focus on fish health, welfare, and environmental responsibility. For the past quarter century, Norwegian research institutions together with industry has been using this expertise in continuing to develop a deep practical and environmental understanding regarding aquaculture activities related to cod.
A world leader in aquaculture
The saying goes if you give a man a fish, he eats for a day and if you teach him to fish, he eats for a lifetime. But teach him to farm fish and you double his seafood export potential. That’s exactly what has happened to Norway in the past few decades since it commercialized aquaculture and catapulted itself into the position as the world’s largest producer of Atlantic salmon.
Fish for all – Norwegian aquaculture goes global
When it comes to fish, Norway really is without equal. Around 7% of Norway’s area is made up of water, comprising of thousands of fjords, and a rugged coastline stretching for over 21,000 kilometres – ideal conditions for abundant fish breeding. The Norwegian aquaculture industry is responsible for some of the finest salmon, rainbow trout, cod and halibut in the world. Furthermore, there is a myriad of shellfish aquaculture, including oysters, mussels – over 5,000 tonnes of them – scallops, lobsters, king crabs and sea urchins. This is a haven for fish and for fish farming, and it is little surprise that the world’s biggest, most productive and innovative aquaculture companies are to be found here.
At home on the sea
For thousand of years Norwegians have been navigating the ocean and working with the sea. Practical and technological expertise combined with experience has always been essential for success. These days, the highest level of experience and technology is still readily available all up and down the Norwegian coastline, much of it tailored to the fishing industry. Nearly 80% of the Norwegian population lives either on or near the coastline, and so it is natural that the sea has been part of the country’s culture, society, and industry throughout its history.
Tracking & health in fisheries
The fisheries of the North Atlantic have long fuelled Norway’s economy, starting with the dried cod traded by 12th century Norsemen, to Norway’s wild caught fisheries of today, which in 2008 totalled a record NOK 18.9 billion in exports.
Investing in sustainable production
The year is 1969, and two Norwegian brothers, Ove and Sivert Grøntvedt, have an idea that’s so simple and practical that over the next 40 years it will revolutionize the world of fish farming. The pair built an octagonal floating cage of wood for growing young Atlantic salmon. The cage was strong yet flexible, cheap and easy to work with. Best of all, fish growth “was phenomenal,” Sivert Grøntvedt said in a newspaper interview at the time.
Listening to the customer
One secret of success of Norwegian seafood is the close cooperation among the different organizations involved in the ongoing accomplishments being experienced by the industry. Naturally, the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs is one central key to this success. One vital partner in this cooperation is Innovation Norway, and the ongoing project called the Marine Value Creation Programme is one excellent example of the added-value such cooperation can bring.