The Norwegian Seafood Council is a public company owned by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. It collaborates closely with the Norwegian fisheries and aquaculture industries to develop markets for Norwegian seafood. The council’s head office is located in Tromsø, Norway, and it has representatives in 12 other countries.
The Explorer spoke to the Council's Managing Director, Renate Larsen.
What are the most important sustainable trends in your industry at the moment?
First of all, I’d like to say that Norwegian seafood is already a green solution for food production, and will be one of the most important solutions in the future.
The ocean is a major area of focus for Norway, and the Government has announced that the country will be taking on a leadership role in global ocean-related issues. Those of us working in the seafood industry are very pleased with this. We are dependent on an ocean that can yield high-quality food. Sustainable management and use of the world’s oceans is critical for our common future.
Norway has much to contribute, with its extensive knowledge about the ocean, and this is reflected in the international demand for Norwegian expertise. Norway excels in management of marine ecosystems and has stringent environmental regulations. Moreover, research-based management, knowledge and green technology development play a key role in the seafood industry. Good examples here are the electrification of fishing boats and the trial project on removal of litter and plastic from the ocean, “Fishing for litter”.
I would also like to draw attention to the potential for increasing value creation by exploiting residual raw materials and by-products, which can be turned into high-value products. The entire fish is a resource. For example, new, modern fishing boats not only produce fish filets, they also produce fish oil and fish protein. There are also prawn producers who produce high-value medicines from prawn shells. All the prerequisites are in place for the seafood industry to further enhance value creation, while reducing overall environmental impact.
Which sustainable solution would you like to see in 10 years’ time?
Norwegian fish is transported by air to other continents – most notably salmon exports to the US and Asia. However, nearly 70 per cent of all Norwegian salmon is exported to the EU and transported primarily by road, rail and sea. I envision a future in which a larger share of seafood is transported to market by electric high-speed trains and boats. There are far too many trucks on the road today.
I also hope that people recognise that seafood is a good green alternative to many other foods. As a seafood nation Norway is in a unique position. Farmed fish in particular will help to satisfy the world’s growing demand for food. Norway can take on a leadership role here, in terms of knowledge, management, production and technology.
What are your ambitions for The Explorer? How can it be used to boost Norwegian exports?
Origin is very important to consumers, as are sustainable, high-quality products, fair trade and zero waste. I believe that a showroom like The Explorer can help Norwegian seafood companies – which supply the world’s most sustainable fish and seafood – to create new relationships.