How to create the Seadrill of seafood??

In Norway we have built a strong service and supply industry based on oil. Now the Norwegian seafood industry should get ready to create “the Seadrill of seafood".

In an E24 op-ed column, marketing manager Ingelill Jacobsen of the Norwegian Seafood Council commented on the importance of opening new markets for Norwegian seafood.

It is important to open new export markets for Norwegian seafood, and this comes on top of what is already a fantastic export success. Norwegian salmon is known worldwide, perhaps more so than most people here at home realize.

But one perspective is often forgotten when discussing seafood as an industry that can help boost Norway when production of oil and gas gradually declines in importance.

This is the following: The Norwegian oil and gas industry is so much more than the production of hydrocarbons. We have built a strong and knowledge-based service and supply industry related to oil and gas. This industry has grown rapidly and is now our second largest export category, behind exports of oil and gas, but in front of seafood.

Our goal must be to achieve the same based on the seafood industry.

Yes, we should sell salmon, cod and shellfish to all corners of the world. But let's not only focus on commodity exports. Let us also build an equally powerful and competent cluster around seafood as we have done around oil and gas.

The starting point is excellent. We have generations of fisheries experience, we have shown that we can run fish farms that are both profitable and sustainable, we have excellent research clusters, we have entrepreneurial types, and we have a strong international reputation.

Let me give an example: Norwegian salmon production was 1.2 million tons in 2014. The head and spine makes up third of a salmon, but this resource has so far had little value.

At Hofseth BioCare we have developed a process to utilize fish trimmings for high-quality salmon oil, protein and calcium.

This is far from the only example that can form the basis for more than exporting fish, in exactly the same way that Norwegian exports of oil and gas formed the basis for a number of technology companies.

We have shown that we can do this in Norway. Production of marine ingredients is a rapidly growing industry with a turnover of around five billion kroner in Norway and supplies products used in foodstuffs, health foods and pharmaceuticals.

And this is obviously not the only area where we can build knowledge-based businesses related to the seafood sector. We have four decades of experience in combating diseases in aquaculture, with radically reduced use of antibiotics. We have a leading international position in research on the genomes of fish. We have developed new methods to make water oxygenated, new types of cages, and so on.

This is quite simply one of the very few industries where Norway has clusters of globally leading competence.

Research and technology development takes time, but the rewards can be tremendous when we succeed - and they are green and sustainable.

It should also be noted that this involves not only jobs and export income for Norway. It also concerns the fact that the ocean is the main source for meeting the growing global food demand in a sustainable manner. To achieve this we need to develop technology and expertise further.

The task is huge, the perspective is global, and Norway is in a excellent position to contribute. My hope is that in a few years we have an equally strong service and supply industry within seafood and aquaculture as we have today within oil and gas.