Cod processing. (Photo: Frank Gregersen, Nofima)
Substantial investment for cod industry revitalization
Tuesday, February 08, 2011, 22:20 (GMT + 9)
The cod sector has been struggling with poor profitability in recent years. Through a major new research programme, the Norwegian Institute of Food, Fisheries and Aquaculture Research (Nofima) will examine the framework conditions and how these affect profitability. The aim is to find measures that will make the sector more profitable.
Cod is the most important white fish species that is exported from Norway. Although Norwegian fish exports have set new records in recent years, the cod sector has struggled. Despite the fact that 2010 was an encouraging year, the export prices of cod products were nearly 10 per cent lower than they were in 2000.
The Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund (FHF) will now invest in a major social science research programme under the auspices of Nofima to find out why the sector is struggling and how to move forward. The programme will run until the end of 2015 and has a budget of NOK 22 million (EUR 2.8 million).
"The purpose of the research programme is to learn more about why the cod sector has had low profitability over time. At the same time, we will gain knowledge about how government regulation of the catching and production of wild fish affects profitability, international competitiveness and structural and environmental impact," says Director of Research Bent Dreyer, who heads the research programme.
The factors to be examined are extremely complex. The main focus will be on the economy and how different framework conditions affect profitability.
In the programme, attention will be given to the intended objectives of the various regulations and the actual effect they have. The researchers will examine how the sector's international competitiveness is affected by the framework conditions.
An important future challenge for the cod sector is to avoid burdening the environment with unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions. The programme will therefore provide information on how the sector can meet this challenge.
An important goal of this research is to come up with regulations for sustainable harvesting which will help increase the market value of Norway's wild fish stocks.