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AQUA NOR 2015: Knowledge and Regulation Key to Aquaculture Success

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NORWAY - Although Norway is not a leading country in aquaculture, it has very developed and successful salmon farming industry which is down to three key things regulation, knowledge and a skilled labour force.

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It is widely known that with a global population rising to 9 billion by 2050 and a 70 percent increase in food demand, aquaculture will be at the forefront of meeting the world’s protein needs. It must however be done sustainably and many countries which are in the early stages of developing aquaculture will need to have more efficient models in place.

Today aquaculture already meets the world’s fish demand for human consumption but in the future it will need to grow by 5.6 per cent to meet demand (global growth is currently only at four per cent).

However, many countries face challenges in developing its aquaculture industry. The main problems encountered are issues around land and water quality, feed, biosecurity, cost and efficient production, technology and regulatory framework.

Of these challenges, having proper regulations in place and also the tools to enforce and monitor them properly is the most important, said Erik Hempel, Nor-Fishing Foundation, speaking at the Aqua Nor 2015 conference in Tronheim, Norway.

The success of Norway’s aquaculture is due in part to having this strong regulatory framework and by the country working together as a whole to make sure that people adhere to the rules.

Morten Hoyum, Centre for Development Cooperation in Fisheries, also reiterated the importance of regulation for sustainable aquaculture.

Mr Hoyum explained that technology, skills and regulation go hand in hand for successful aquaculture.

Poor enforcement and monitoring of regulation can affect your farming operations even if you are following the rules, he said. Giving an example, Mr Hoyum stated how just one small scale farmer not ensuring the proper health of his fish and farming where he shouldn’t can spread disease to other farms in the same area who have been operating correctly.

Mr Hoyum also addressed how an abundant supply of skilled labour has been important in Norway’s success but is something that is missing in many other countries.

In the ideal education pyramid, there are a few people at the top with phd’s, then a few more with degrees and masters and then under that an even bigger skilled and experienced labour force.

Many countries have the people at the top but they are short on skilled labour who will have the responsibility of making sure the day to day running of the farm is done how it should.

However, having the sills and technology is still not enough if there is no proper regulation, he stressed.

Regulation and knowledge have played the biggest part in Norway's aquaculture success but it has also been helped by an efficient and honest culture, added Trond Wiliksen, CEO of Akva Group.

Norway's model could be transferred to other countries, but it will only work if done step by step and also only if it is backed and supported by the country as a whole.