According to a newly published report, value creation within the Norwegian biomarine industry has the potential to grow 600 per cent - from NOK 90 billion today to NOK 550 billion - in 2050.
"The report documents that marine resources represent a wealth of opportunity that we have yet to tap into," says Christina Abildgaard, Director of the Research Council of Norway's Department for Environmental Research and Marine Resources. She participated in the working group that drew up the report, Value Creation based on productive seas in 2050" (Norwegian only).
The working group was appointed by the Royal Norwegian Society of Sciences and Letters (DKNVS) and the Norwegian Academy of Technological Sciences (NTVA). Funding for the task was provided by SINTEF Fisheries and Aquaculture, the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs and the Research Council's research programme Aquaculture - An Industry in Growth (HAVBRUK).
From NOK 90 billion to NOK 550 billion
"The report presents a scenario that is optimistic, visionary and feasible. The working group's estimates are based on current developments within core areas of the marine sector, including the feed industry (production and delivery) and new industries." Ms Abildgaard explains.
"Research and knowledge development will play an essential role in achieving a scenario where value creation could increase from approximately NOK 90 billion in 2011 to NOK 550 billion in 2050. It will also be crucial to our efforts to cope with environmental challenges and ensure sustainable development," she emphasises. Four of the working group's ten recommendations involve research, education and technology development.
The forecasts from a corresponding report from 1999 proved to be highly accurate; at the time, growth in the value of total turnover within the biomarine industry was predicted to amount to approximately NOK 75 billion in 2010. The actual value was NOK 80 billion.
New Norwegian golden age for marine activity
The report was presented recently at Nor-Fishing, the international fisheries convention held in Trondheim. Lisbeth Berg Hansen, Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, believes that the scenario confirms that Norwegian marine activity is poised to enter a new golden age.
The Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs is currently preparing a government white paper aimed at developing a forward-looking policy designed to enhance the role of the seafood industry in value creation in the coastal areas.
"It is essential to have more and improved research if we are to succeed!" We wouldn't be where we are today, nor will we get any further, without state-of-the-art research," stated Ms Berg-Hansen at the opening of Nor-Fishing.
HAV21 national strategy for research
This same line of thinking forms the basis for the work taking place to draw up the HAV21 national strategy for research. Representatives of industry, public administration and knowledge communities have been invited to provide input on how Norway should target its overall marine research activities in the future. The strategy will be presented in November and will in turn provide input to the Ministry's white paper.
The HAV21 national strategy effort emphasises knowledge relating to sustainable management of marine resources in addition to the industry's need for expertise.