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Welcome to Norway, guest country of honour



Facts about Norway

Inhabitants 5,3 million  

The Norwegian touch on sustainability in of fisheries and aquaculture

Session organised on Wednesday 10 October 09.00 – 12.00 / Petit Theatre (Quartz)

Norway is currently one of the world’s leading ocean economies, with one of the longest coastlines in the world, and maritime areas are six times larger than the land area. Every day hundreds of thousands of Norwegians go to work in the ocean industries, which together represent about 70 per cent of the Norwegian export income. With more than 100 years of history of responsible management of marine resources and marine research, the Norwegian ecosystem is at the forefront of sustainable management of the marine resources.

The seminar will give an overview of latest development and perspectives of the Norwegian ocean based industries, the Norwegian model for fisheries management, as well as how innovation and new enabling technology could become a game changer when it comes to sustainable use of the ocean resources.

[Detailed programme and list of speakers]

Capital  Oslo  
Area  385,203 km²  
GDP per capita  625,179 NOK (2017) - ca 66,310 EUR  
Head of State HM King Harald V  
Prime Minister Erna Solberg  


Norway is pleased to be the guest country of honour at the Sea Tech Week 2018.

The ocean economy is particularly important for Norway. More than 80 % of its population lives less than 20 kilometers from the coast. This has been a key factor in shaping Norwegian identity. Ever since the Viking Age the seas have con­nected Norway to the rest of the world.

The Norwegian coastline is one of the longest in the world. Our maritime areas are more than six times larger than our land territory. Every day hundreds of thousands of Norwegians go to work in the ocean industries. Together, these represent about 70 per cent of our export income. They include an important services and supply industry.

Fishing and shipping have been important industries for Norway for centuries, while the fish farming started in the 1950s and 60s. At roughly the same time, oil and gas explora­tion started on the Norwegian continental shelf. Norway is also at the forefront of marine research and responsible management of marine resources.

The Seafood industry

Norway is at present the world’s second largest exporter of fish and seafood. 36 million meals of seafood from Norway are served every day throughout the year in over 130 countries. France represents one of the largest markets for Norwegian seafood.


Norwegian waters are clean, nutritious and the home of many internationally traded species of fish, such as cod, herring, mackerel, pollock, haddock and blue whiting. Over the past 30–40 years, momentous developments have transformed fishing practices, with more efficient and highly regulated fishing, and fewer fishermen and vessels. Today, nearly all stocks with commercial value are regulated through quotas and licensing. Norway has a diversified and technologically advanced fishing fleet, ranging from small one-man inshore fishing vessels to large trawlers and purse seiners. In 2016 a census counted about 11,240 fishermen and slightly less than 6,000 vessels.

Fisheries management

Norwegian fisheries policy and management are based on scientific advice. They rely on the principles of sustainable harvest of the marine living resources. Norway has more than hundred years of institutional experience in fisheries management and marine research. The Directorate of Fisheries and the Institute of Marine Research were both established in Bergen in 1900. In 1946, Norway became the first country in the world to establish a Ministry of Fisheries.

With more than 1000 staff, the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) is the largest marine research institution in Norway and in Europe. It is a leading scientific organization specialized on marine ecosystems and aquaculture. The Institute is the main adviser to the government on sustainable management of marine resources and the entire seafood value chain.

Stocks were formerly managed at a sin­gle-stock level, despite being harvested at various trophic levels and many challenging biological relationships in the ecosystems. Today, IMR takes a holistic approach to marine ecology, using modern research vessels and facilities to monitor and study the entire marine ecosystem. Measuring all components of the ecosystem simultaneously offers new and improved prospects for understanding ecological relationships. The Norwegian Government is working to further strengthen the knowledge base for implementing new monitoring technology for harvestable stocks.


The aquaculture industry has become the largest contributor to value creation in the seafood industry. Norway is the world’s leading producer of Atlantic salmon with a yearly production of about 1.2 million tons in 2016. The Norwegian salmon and trout farming industry comprises about 100 companies, in addition to businesses farming other species.

Technological development in the aquaculture industry is rapid. It is fueled both by the research communities’ and the industry’s need to solve environ­mental challenges. The authorities have also used the licensing system to stimulate technological development through “green licenses”. This leads to considerable innovation in the aquaculture industry like testing fish farming in more exposed waters and open sea, as well as testing land-based fish farms.

The biomarine industry

The biomarine industry has grown alongside the aquaculture industry, providing a stable access to marine by-products and a solid basis for building processing plants for cleansing, refining and processing. It utilizes various types of marine produce, such as fish oil, marine by-products, and kelp as specialized ingredients directed towards food, health food, feed, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals. Combined, the marine ingredient industry had a total value creation of NOK 2.1 billion in 2013 (roughly 200 million Euros).  

Supply industry

A wide range of businesses deliver equipment to various parts of the seafood industry, from equipment on board fishing vessels, to assembly lines in the processing industry, and equipment and services to the aquaculture industry. Especially in recent years, there has been an increase in the undercurrent of suppliers to the aquaculture industry, where Norway possesses world-leading businesses in feed, vaccines, production equipment, services, and technology for the prevention and treatment of salmon lice.


Norwegian maritime businesses have largely specialized in high-tech market segments, such as dry bulk, chemical tankers, offshore vessels, and car transport. They are also world leaders in the develop­ment and use of clean energy solutions, such as liquefied natural gas (LNG) and batteries. A Government priority is to maintain and contribute to the further development of the world’s most environmental shipping industry. Norway has the world’s largest fleet running on LNG. There is also considerable focus on the development of technology for vessel automation in the maritime industry.

Research and development

Norwegian researchers and research communities are at the forefront of several scientific fields and participate in an extensive international research collaboration. This is a fundamental prerequisite for developing Norway as an ocean economy. In addition to the Institute of Marine Research, leading research institutions include the University of Bergen (UiB), SINTEF Ocean, the Arctic University of Tromsø (UIT), Norwegian Institute for Water Research, Nofima, Christian Michelsen Research and The Norwegian Veterinary Institute.

The EU research and innovation programme Horizon 2020 is important for funding of international collaboration. Norway was a driving force in the establishment of the joint European programming initiative JPI Oceans. This has led to a stronger prioritization of the ocean in Horizon 2020.

Norway has currently 12 Norwegian Centers of Expertise clusters with members from business and research communities with core activities associated with the ocean. The Global Centers of Expertise clusters Blue Maritime, Subsea and NODE are the most mature, largest and most prominent, but also Norwegian Centre of Expertise clusters such as Seafood Innovation Cluster, Maritime Clean-Tech, Aquatech and Aquaculture, as well as others, such as Blue Legasea, play an important part.

International initiatives promoted by Norway

The world needs countries that are willing to take the lead in the work to protect the oceans and ensure that resources are sustainably used.

Norway wishes to remain at the forefront of international efforts to promote sustainable use and value creation, to ensure that we have clean and healthy oceans and to support the blue economy in developing countries. A considerable potential for growth includes the seafood industry, marine biotechnology, energy (renewable and non-renewable), seabed mining, maritime transport and trade, coastal and maritime tourism and maritime surveillance. Together, these sectors make up the ocean or ‘blue’ economy.

The Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg has established a High-level Panel on Building a Sustainable Ocean Economy. Ms Solberg will chair the panel, which is composed of heads of state and governments from a broad range of coastal states, including developing countries. The panel started its work in the first half of 2018, and will continue until 2020. A key deliverable will be a report on the importance of the ocean economy for sustainable development. The panel will work closely with the UN and will engage with other international initiatives in this field. Norway has also taken several initiatives to combat marine litter and micro-plastics in the oceans. The “Our Ocean” conference will be organised in Norway in 2019.

Read more about Norwegian Ocean Policies

New growth, Proud History. The Norwegian Government’s Ocean Strategy

The place of the oceans in Norway’s foreign and development policy

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Organised by
  • Brest Métropôle
  • Technopôle Brest Iroise
With the support of
  • Union Européenne
  • Région Bretagne
  • Caisse des dépôts

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