Thank you Mr Chair,
Representing a coastal state that depends on revenue from marine resources, I would like to highlight a part of the ocean economy that is becoming more and more important for Norway – seafood.
Seafood is one of our most important export goods. Every day we export about 34 million seafood meals, to over 140 countries worldwide.
Over time, we have developed management practices and control regimes to ensure that our fish resources are managed in a sustainable way.
The world population is expected to increase by more than two billion by 2050. All these people will need food. How shall we achieve this in a sustainable and climate friendly way?
Today, only a small percentage of global food production comes from the sea.
We need a global effort to:
- increase awareness of the critical role seafood can play for food security and nutrition, and
- produce more seafood than today – in a sustainable manner.
But the ocean is under pressure - from climate change, illegal fishing and pollution including microplastics.
Illegal fishing is theft of our common resources. It is stealing from our dinner tables, and threatening our marine resources.
According to the World Bank, the global fisheries sector loses around USD 83 billion each year, largely because of overfishing. This means that the fisheries sector could earn USD 83 billion more if fishing was carried out sustainably, and long-term use of the resources ensured.
We now have a legal instrument that will legal fishing less attractive: the internationally binding Agreement on Port State Measures to Prevent, Deter and Eliminate Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated Fishing, which recently came into force. I was very pleased to attend the first Meeting of the Parties in Oslo last week.
Fisheries management involves continuous adaptation to changing conditions. Today Norway’s major commercial stocks are in good condition. This is due to efforts in three areas:
- Continuous research
- Regulations – annually revised and
- Enforcement through control systems.
Norway and a few other countries have shown that a declining trend in fish catches can be reversed. We have listened to marine scientists. Not only when they advise us to increase quotas, but especiallywhen they advise us to reduce them.
Recently the Norwegian Government published its first white paper on the oceans. This reflects the fact that Norway is putting the oceans high up on its foreign and development policy agenda.
Our aim is to make sustainable use of the oceans a global priority – so that the oceans can provide us with plenty of healthy, safe and nutritious seafood both now and in the future.