Going for growth
This summer’s Aqua Nor exhibition in Trondheim shines a spotlight on Norwegian aquaculture – not that fish farming in the country is ever really in the shadows. The sector was valued at NOK 43.6 billion last year, with production of 1.35 million tonnes, of which 1.27 million tonnes was salmon, according to Statistics Norway. Around 6,350 people were employed in aquaculture in the country in 2014.
Norway thinks big where the industry is concerned, and predicts a five-fold increase in volume and an eight-fold rise in value by 2050.
The authorities and the industry are working together to bring this vision to reality, said Fisheries Minister Elisabeth Aspaker recently, as she opened another one of the country’s Centres for Research-Based Innovation (see page 30).
The goal of this research drive is to strengthen companies’ capacity for innovation, and nowhere is this more evident than in aquaculture.
The latest centre, set up with NOK 200 million, is based at Nofima in Sunndalsora, and at the end of May it embarked on its work, investigating closed-containment systems for salmon.
Elsewhere, Norwegian scientists and engi- neers are engaged in exploring the potential for farming further offshore (see page 38), and in some exciting projects are transferring oil technology to aquaculture. It is highly likely that it will be Norway that becomes the first country to commercially farm salmon in the open sea.
Development on the scale seen in Norway would not have been possible without funding, and Norwegian fish farming pioneers have been fortunate to have had the support of the DNB bank over the years. DNB’s Anne Hvistendahl, who has been involved in aquaculture for 20 years, talked to Fish Farmer about the ups and downs in the industry, and her confidence in its future growth.
Along with about 500 exhibitors at this year’s Aqua Nor, leading figures within the industry will be addressing issues such as training, development and sustainability, at several seminars to be held throughout the week.
One subject in particular – ‘Is the Norwegian approach to aquaculture relevant in developing countries?’ – should attract attention. For whatever the problems facing this nation’s fish farmers at present, theirs is the kind of success story that the rest of the world would like to replicate.