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Innovation and international synergies, keys to promoting the sustainable growth of the fishing industry

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Friday, October 23, 2020, 07:00 (GMT + 9)

  •  Fisheries and aquaculture are fundamental to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and are essential to preserve the oceans and contribute to the sustainable use of marine resources
  • Norwegian aquaculture has become an example of sustainable and efficient practice, thanks to the application of R&D to achieve a balance between protection of natural resources and food production, and Norwegian salmon from aquaculture is a clear case of success within the global aquaculture industry

Madrid - Fishing and aquaculture are fundamental to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and are essential to preserve the oceans, seas and marine resources, as well as to contribute to sustainable development and use, according to experts gathered at a webinar on sustainability and seafood organized by the Norwegian Seafood Council, together with Innovation Norway and the Norwegian Embassy. The speakers also emphasized the need to invest in innovation and technology applied to the fishing industry, in addition to exchanging knowledge and taking advantage of synergies at all levels to support the growth of the sector in the coming years in a sustainable way.

Under the slogan "Sustainability, from the sea to the table", during the meeting held today in Madrid the importance of sustainability in the industry through aquaculture and fishing was highlighted, especially if the The need to find innovative and efficient solutions that respond to the challenges in the fight against hunger and the challenge of feeding a world population that in 2050 will exceed 10 billion people. To do this, projections show that it will be necessary to double world food production and, without a doubt, focus on harnessing the great potential of the oceans as a source of healthy food.

“Norway has always been one of the countries to take as a clear reference if we speak in terms of sustainability and a nation oriented to the sea. What innovation and technology can bring us now, applied to different areas of the fishing industry both in aquaculture and in wild fishing, is that they can help us to continue advancing towards greater sustainability of our activity in the future ”says Bjorn- Erik Stabell, director of the Norwegian Seafood Council in Spain.

In this sense, during the seminar a new Norwegian technology platform for "green" solutions was presented, which will serve to connect companies in the industry from all over the world. Called The Explorer, “this green technology platform gathers the best that Norway can offer to connect international solutions with Norwegian ones”, according to Helene Friis, head of The Explorer, who believes that “the collaboration between Spain and Norway, both fishing nations , it can give very good results, especially in the current moment, in which it is not possible to travel or meet to share knowledge ”and has invited all the companies to use it.

Aquaculture and sustainability: challenges, innovations and opportunities for the future

We live on the blue planet, 70% of which is water. However, as Solveig van Nes, director of Marine Prospects AS has shown, "despite the fact that the oceans cover more than two thirds of the Earth's surface, only 2% of food comes from the sea" . Considering the limitations of the land and fresh water available for animal husbandry and that fish is the most sustainable animal protein, it is clear that aquaculture is an opportunity for the future, just like Norwegian aquaculture and salmon farming have been proven for 50 years.

For his part, Krister Hoaas, Director of Public Affairs at Leroy Seafood Group, explained how his company applies sustainable criteria throughout the value chain and in all areas of its business, ranging from salmon and trout production, catches of white fish, processing, product development, marketing, sale and distribution of seafood. In addition, Leroy also requires its suppliers to adhere to high standards to all work towards sustainability and that the actions being carried out today make a difference in the future.

Continuing with the review of another link in the value chain, Frank Edvard Vike, VP Sales on board & Aquaculture at MMC First Process, explained that the sustainable handling of fish is part of the nature of his company, a member of the Pact World Cup for Sustainable Development, and which advocates applying sustainability criteria and cutting-edge technology in the three key aspects of its business: handling, processing and refrigeration.

The seminar also offered a local perspective and Javier Ojeda, managing director of the Business Association of Marine Crop Producers of Spain (APROMAR) has pointed out that the “great challenge of Spanish aquaculture is to make it known and valued by all Spanish society, as a method of obtaining aquatic species: animals and plants ”. According to data from the entity, there is a lack of knowledge of the term aquaculture, since a third of the general population (33.8%) have never heard this term and when their activity is described they state that they did not know it. For this reason, ignorance of aquaculture and its activity means that 47% of the population does not know whether the fish they consume comes from aquaculture. Thus, APROMAR has announced the launch of the "Aquaculture of Spain" project, with which Spaniards want to know that Spanish aquaculture is a model sector and committed to the natural environment.

Fisheries: developments in Spain and Norway related to governance, innovation and trends

In addition to improving aquaculture, innovation and technology can also contribute to optimal use of fisheries. Viggo Brevik, VP and Director of Global Sales at Optimar, one of the most innovative companies in the fishing sector and a member of the Global Compact for the Environment, explained how his company offers robotization technologies that improve ship handling and aquaculture to facilitate access to healthy food for the largest possible population and with the least impact on the environment.

Finally, Javier Garat, Secretary General of the Spanish Fisheries Confederation (CEPESCA), has analyzed the progress of European fisheries towards environmental, social and economic sustainability. Garat has valued the diversity and strength of a fleet of more than 80,000 boats in the European Union to guarantee the continuity of the supply of fish to consumers, and that catches almost 5 million tons per year for human consumption, which represents 48 billions of meals a year.

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