Japan is a major market for Norwegian salmon
Up to now, cooperation between Japan and Norway on marine research has primarily revolved around safe seafood. The seminar made it clear that researchers in the two countries share a broader range of scientific interests and are looking to expand cooperation significantly. Relevant areas of focus include marine resource management, aquaculture and renewable marine energy.
As the world seeks ways to satisfy its growing demand for food as well as energy, the sustainable use of marine resources grows increasingly important. The objective of the seminar was to address challenges related to the sustainable replenishment of fisheries and the rebuilding of coastal communities following the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March 2011.
Two leading marine nations
At the opening of the seminar, Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Trond Giske and State Secretary Kristine Gramstad of the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs stressed the need for increased Norwegian-Japanese cooperation on research and technology development. Bringing together research communities and industrial and political communities will help to promote new ties between the two countries.
“As two of the world’s leading nations in marine research, we face many of the same challenges. Norway and Japan are natural partners in research and technology development,” stated Ms Gramstad.
“Norway has an international reputation as a leading seafood producer,” said Norwegian Minister of Trade and Industry Trond Giske at the seminar. (Photo: Suisan Keizai Shimbun Sha)
“Norway has an international reputation as a leading seafood producer,” said Minister Giske, “and we seek to take a leading role in developing renewable energy and other alternative uses of marine resources. Cooperation between coastal nations such as Japan and Norway is essential for solving the challenges facing our nations and the global community at large. I hope this seminar represents the beginning of new joint projects.”
Also addressing the seminar was Kjell Emil Naas, programme coordinator for the Research Council’s HAVBRUK programme, who pointed out some of the key contributions that research has made to the phenomenal growth of salmon production since the 1970s.
“If such growth is to continue, however, we must master the problems we do not yet have control over – meaning sea lice and production fish escapes,” says Mr Naas. The HAVBRUK programme devotes a great deal of resources to developing knowledge that can help to solve these problems.
Reducing the discharge of inorganic nutrients, sustainable production of feed, and disease prevention are other key research topics for securing a sustainable future for Norwegian aquaculture.
Important export market for Norway
Japan is a major market for Norwegian mackerel, salmon trout, capelin, and particularly salmon. Every day, two million meals that include Norwegian seafood are consumed in Japan.
If the phenomenal growth of salmon production is to continue, we must master problems like sea lice and production fish escapes, says Kjell Emil Naas, programme coordinator for the Research Council’s HAVBRUK programme.
But the potential for cooperation between Japan and Norway encompasses much more than salmon exports.
“We see there is an excellent foundation for cooperation because many Japanese are turning to Norway for answers on how to rebuild their marine activities. Furthermore, Norway has seafood, technology and expertise that Japan needs,” states Svein Grandum, Counsellor for Science and Technology at Innovation Norway in Tokyo.
The seminar, held 10 May, was organised in cooperation with the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST), Innovation Norway, Seafood Norway, the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Tokyo, and the Japan Fisheries Association.