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Nor-Fishing 2020 Digital – a completely new experience

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Friday, June 26, 2020, 22:20 (GMT + 9)

When the COVID-19 virus struck in February-March, the world became a completely different place. The management of the Nor-Fishing Foundation hoped for a long time that it would be possible to run Nor-Fishing 2020 as planned, but these plans were shattered in late April, when the government announced that all gatherings of more than 500 persons were banned until September 1st. Consequently, Nor-Fishing 2020 was cancelled - for the first time in the exhibition’s history.

But one does not give up so easily. Thanks to today's ICT technology, it will be possible to arrange a digital version of Nor-Fishing. The work was started immediately after the cancellation decision was made, and the program quickly took shape.

Photo: Nor-Fishing

The digital event will run for 3 days during the Nor-Fishing week, from Tuesday 18th to Thursday 20th August. A detailed program is laid out in front of the event so you can get to know the program before the live stream starts.

When the first exhibition was held in 1960, it was unthinkable that a fishing exhibition could be arranged "on the air waves". We had no idea what the Internet was, cell phones were a science fiction dream, television was just recently introduced in Norway, and computers were big monsters that lived in air-cooled, sterile rooms and were not accessible to everyman. But times have changed in 60 years.

During the 60 years since the first exhibition was held in Bergen, with the solemn participation of H.M. King Olav V in his general's uniform, Nor-Fishing has developed into one of the world's largest and most important fishing exhibitions. It has also developed into a trade show where the focus is on technology and equipment. The 1960 show was as much a fair for the general public as an exhibition for professionals.

Nor-Fishing 2020 Digital can best be described as an interactive TV program. A program host will guide viewers through an industry event consisting of exciting reports, interesting guests in the studio, professional debates and meetings with many exciting exhibitors.

Photo: Nor-Fishing

During the summer holidays, the team at Nor-Fishing was in the process of recreating the marketplace and the interaction between exhibitors and visitors - which has for so long made the exhibition the industry's most important meeting place. Dialogue between exhibitors and visitors is facilitated through live chat, and a booking function for digital meetings between exhibitors and viewers will be in place.

Exhibitors can also buy advertising time during the "broadcast". They can choose between 30 and 60 seconds of advertising time that will be broadcast between the elements of the "TV program".

In addition to the short advertising elements, exhibitors will also have the opportunity to buy a somewhat more extensive "studio time". By purchasing studio time, the exhibitor gets six minutes in the studio where a representative of the company is interviewed by the program host.

"We have been fortunate to have recruited TV personality Arne Hjeltnes as the program host for these broadcasts," says Kari Steinsbø. "He has previously hosted the entertainment at our seafood dinners for several years, and he also knows the Norwegian fishing industry very well."

"With Nor-Fishing 2020 Digital, we will set the standard for digital fairs," says the CEO of the Nor-Fishing Foundation, Kristian Digre. "We want to give visitors a truly unique viewing experience - and will facilitate exhibitor-viewer interaction - which is as it should be during a trade show."

In addition to posting the live stream directly, the entire event will be posted on Nor-Fishing's website so that one can view the content at a time that is best for the individual. The digital exhibition will thus live on after the year's event is over. Following Nor-Fishing 2020 Digital is completely free of charge for viewers.

Digital celebration of the 60th anniversary

Nor-Fishing is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year - which made it extra sad that this seemed to be the first and only year in the exhibition’s history that the event had to be cancelled. But the anniversary will also be celebrated digitally.

"We want to mark the anniversary with exciting and fun flashbacks from the 60 years that have passed, and we will have a chat with key figures from the exhibition’s history," says Erik Hempel, Communications Director at the Nor-Fishing Foundation. “But we also want to look a little ahead, because the future of trade shows has become a topic for discussion, not only in Norway, but all over the world. Therefore, on the last day of the event we will have a discussion about the future of trade shows.”

Professional debates

Nor-Fishing 2020 Digital will feel the pulse of the fishing industry with panel debates on important fisheries policy topics – as well as exciting lectures. The academic program is developed by a program committee made up of representatives from SINTEF Ocean, Norway’s technical university NTNU and several industry organizations, as well as the Nor-Fishing Foundation. Interesting and relevant topics in the industry will be highlighted by knowledgeable speakers. And there has been commitment to participate from both the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Ocean, Ambassador Peter Thomson, and the FAO's former Head of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Arni Mathiesen, who is now Special Advisor to the FAO Director-General.

The Student Day, which is arranged in collaboration with NTNU and the BI business school, will also be conducted digitally. There will also be daily sessions with students. "Recruitment is extremely important," says Kari Steinsbø, Nor-Fishing’s Exhibition Manager. “We have been working closely with NTNU for several years when it comes to organizing the Student Day on the last day of the exhibition, and the popularity of this event has increased from year to year. That's why we give the students a broad presence in the digital program as well.”

Photo: Nor-Fishing

The industry’s most important meeting place  – now also digitally

Exhibitions are a very important international meeting place for players in the fisheries sector, and an important arena for presenting new technology to the industry. The Nor-Fishing Foundation has for many years pointed out that the exhibition has three main elements: as a display window for new technology, as a forum where knowledge can be updated  through a series of mini-seminars and presentations, and as a meeting place where old contacts are maintained and new ones established.

“Through Nor-Fishing 2020 Digital, we hope to recreate the physical marketplace that Nor-Fishing represents, in a new and exciting format,” says Kristian Digre. “Exhibitors will be presented with new technology, have a dialogue with customers on the live chat - and arrange their own digital meetings with viewers who wish to meet them. This will be an arena for presentation, dialogue and trade between exhibitors and visitors.”

The most difficult thing to achieve is the meeting place. Although the organizer has developed a way for exhibitors and visitors to communicate one-on-one, it will not be possible to recreate the informal and pleasant atmosphere that you have always had at the exhibition, not least over a beer at the outdoor restaurant, in the sunshine and warmth of the Trondheim summer.

"I don't think digital fairs can fully replace the physical exhibitions," says Hempel. “However, it can be a useful substitute in a situation like the one we have this year. But I'm looking forward to next year, when hopefully we can meet again physically.”

The program for the exhibition days is posted on the website

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