With our extensive coastline Norway manages some of the world’s richest fishing resources. Norway is the world’s second largest exporter of fish and fish products after China, and the world leader in production and export of salmon and trout. The seafood industry has been one of the major growth industries in the Norwegian economy in recent years with significant growth in both fisheries and aquaculture. In 2012 Norway produced about three million tons of seafood and exported seafood for a value of 51.6 billion NOK to consumers in approximately 130 countries. The global population growth, climate change and the increased awareness of seafood’s significance on public health makes Norway a important global supplier of marine products which are of great importance for human health and global environment.
More than half of Norway’s largest fish farming companies are localized on the west coast of Norway. This is due to the west coasts unique natural advantages, historical traditions and international leading industry. The region houses major national players involved on different levels in the marine industries from catching, breeding, processing and exporting fish, to manufacturers of equipment and fish feed, and research institutions.
There are also challenges related to the Norwegian marine industries. Weather conditions like wind, waves and currents influence the fish farms in operation as well as placement of new installations. Aspect of how the fish farm will influence the environment in which it is located is also an area that has to be considered. Spread of waste materials from the fish farm, introduction of non-indigenous species caused by escaped fish, and an increased disease burden are all factors that influence the marine environment. Close collaboration between researchers and industry contributes to an industry based on knowledge and sustainability.