For a long time, Norway has been one of the world's leading exporters of seafood. Fishing and aquaculture mean a great deal to both the business development along the Norwegian coast and the Norwegian economy in general.
Fishing and aquaculture's strong positions have also made growth and development possible in the sectors that develop gear, products and services for the fisheries and fish farms. The wide range of companies in these areas have become important exporters in their own right.
Through a host of deliberations, we are presented with scenarios that emphasize the strong value-added potential of the Norwegian maritime sector. It will take focused policies and hard work in order to achieve these possibilities. Norwegian policy attempts to set up the proper framework in order to allow the traditional fisheries, along with the aquaculture and processing industries, to evolve. This will also increase possibilities for the fishing gear and aquaculture supplier industries.
The Norwegian maritime industry has always been international. We see now that globalization has a steadily increasing effect on the industry. Resource proximity has been seen as one of the Norwegian fishing industry's clear comparative advantages. It will remain this way, but it is also necessary to work for the establishment and development of companies that can bear the Norwegian cost levels, along with offer the international market attractive products and services.
The possibilities and challenges of technology are out there. We must create the possibilities ourselves through innovation and emphasis on the research & development of technological advances. This applies to both the fishery and aquaculture branches as supplier industries. They are industries that can compete in the international market in both scope and quality.
Let me focus on a few specific areas where the opportunities for growth and added value are promising. They include the advancement of technology in the fishing catch and processing industry, the development of programs for the management of fish farm production and administration, traceability programs, new vaccines, biotechnology and bioprospecting. The increased utilization of the industries' by-products is an extension of this - for resource, environmental and value added-related reasons. A number of other areas could also be mentioned.
I feel that the most constructive method to meet the challenges before us is through the development of a close interaction between the fishing gear and aquaculture supplier industries and their clients, whether they are located in Norway or abroad.
The possibilities for growth and added value are great - also for the supplier industries. In other words, there are many reasons for optimism. The companies that focus on innovation and the recruitment of skilled employees will have the best foundation to excel in our future economy.
This publication presents companies, along with their products and services, which accentuate and strengthen my belief that we will attain our ambitious goals. The Norwegian fishing gear and aquaculture supplier industries contain a number of companies who are at the cutting edge of development and have appropriately built up a solid and impressive international position.
The Norwegian Minister of Fisheries