Norway’s position as a major power in the marine sector and its strategic location extending into the Arctic pose special requirements for what kinds of priorities the country needs to set with regard to its marine research activities.
One of Norway’s three most important industries
“Marine research is one of the most forward-looking fields in which Norway can invest,” says Liv Monica Stubholt. (Photo: Kværner)
“Norway’s oceans provide enormous opportunities when it comes to harvesting nature’s resources. The seafood industry is one of the country’s three most important industrial clusters, together with the offshore industry and the shipping industry. We must continue to build on this,” says Liv Monica Stubholt, chair of the strategy committee. Ms Stubholt is the Senior Vice President for Strategy and Communication at Kvaerner, a Norwegian multinational company.
The Research Council of Norway has served as the secretariat for the strategy committee, which was comprised of 18 members representing research groups, environmental organisations, public agencies and industry from throughout the country.
Basis for public investment
The HAV21 strategy report was formally presented to the Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, on 7 November.
Lisbeth Berg-Hansen stresses the importance of close cooperation between the authorities, trade and industry and the research community in order to follow up the ojectives set out in the HAV21 strategy. (Photo: Therese Farstad)
In her remarks, Minister Berg-Hansen stressed the important role that close cooperation between the authorities, trade and industry and the research community will play in boosting the development of marine knowledge. She went on to emphasise the strategy’s significance as input for the new government white papers on research and on seafood, both of which are due to be submitted in 2013, as well as for future budget activities.
“The HAV21 strategy will also play a crucial part in the development of research programmes at the Research Council,” states the Director General of the Research Council,
Arvid Hallén (Photo: Jan Christian Sørlie)
“The broad-based strategy committee has managed to reach agreement on key principles that transcend special interests, thereby providing a good basis for cultivating better interdisciplinary research in areas that we think are important.”
Strategic and future-oriented management
“Norway needs knowledge in order to manage its oceans in a manner that will also allow coming generations to benefit from them,” Ms Stubholt points out.
“It matters where Norway focuses its research. Marine research is an area where Norway excels internationally, and is thus one of the most forward-looking fields in which Norway can invest,” she says.
“Norway’s use and management of its oceans is of national and international significance, and the country’s strategic northern location means that its activities attract extensive international interest. We must therefore take particular care when it comes to setting priorities for marine research.”
Seven priority areas
The HAV21 strategy report identifies seven priority areas to support the primary objective of promoting stable growth and expanding opportunities:
- Legal perspectives, management and use
- Knowledge about the ecosystem
- The Arctic and the northern areas
- Harvesting and cultivating new marine raw materials
- Fish health and sustainable, safe and healthy seafood
- Food and markets
The reports submitted by four working groups in the areas of management, fisheries, aquaculture and food, respectively, have provided essential input to the seven priority areas identified by the strategy committee.
Legal and social science expertise needed
Ms Stubholt stresses the need to strengthen the legal basis for marine resource management, safeguard Norwegian interests in this area and ensure quality assurance of decision-making processes.
“Norway is an international leader in natural science-based marine research. This gives us an excellent foundation for managing and using the oceans with respect and care in a long-term perspective. We need to maintain and further develop these strengths,” she says.
Ms Stubholt hopes that the publication of the HAV21 strategy report will encourage more legal experts and social scientists to get involved in this area.
“More social science research is essential to improving the basis for decisions on regulation, management and value creation in relation to Norway’s coastal and ocean areas,” concludes the committee chair.