News, Seafood

An Important Growth Industry

Norway is one of the world's leading seafood exporters and seafood is, after oil, the second biggest export commodity, bringing in earnings in 2002 of NOK 30.6 billion (USD 3.5 billion).

In Norway, there is an increasing awareness of the huge potential that lies in the development of marine resources. For Norway it is of major importance that the production of Norwegian seafood should comply with the strictest requirements to health and hygiene and be based on sustainable and environmentally friendly production and harvesting methods.

Fisheries have always been a central component of Norwegian business and industry because Norway controls some of the richest fishing grounds in the world. The North Sea, Norwegian coast, Barents Sea and the polar front in the Norwegian Sea are all highly productive areas, and major fish resources spawn right outside the coast of Norway. The coastline is also particularly well suited to environmentally friendly fish farming, and the aquaculture industry has grown tremendously in recent years, becoming a new, valuable industry for the coastal areas. In 2002 Norway exported farmed salmon and trout worth NOK 12.5 billion (USD 1.4 billion).

In 1946, Norway became the first country in the world to establish a separate Ministry of Fisheries.

Responsible & Sustainable

In the last 30 years Norwegian fisheries, once virtually free and open, have become a profitable and sustainable industry regulated by quotas and licences.

Norway’s goal is to protect and build up stocks to enable annual harvesting of as high and stable fishing quotas as possible based on the principle of responsible fishing. In order to succeed, Norway is committed to marine research, including multi-species studies, which tell of the relationship between the various species of fish and sea mammals in the ocean.

Atlantic salmon and trout farming have dominated aquaculture, although considerable efforts have been brought to bear in expanding profitable production to other species. The combination of aquaculture and traditional fishing – sea ranching – is at the trial stage. This entails setting out and recapturing organisms in their natural environmental habitats.

About 80 % of the total quantity of fish that is brought to land in Norway is exported. The business is reliant on market profits and this means that all links in the chain must emphasize quality. For the authorities, the goal is to increase value creation in the industry through sound management of resources, further growth of the aquaculture industry with new species in addition to Atlantic salmon and trout, increased fish processing and better utilisation of fish by-products. Norway aims to be a leading operator within the marine technology sector. Profitable and successful operators in a diversified fishing fleet, in aquaculture and in the fish processing industry are crucial in order to ensure thriving towns along Norway’s long coastline.