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Seafood industry braces up for post-COVID blue economies

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By Godwin Oritse

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THE Norwegian Seafood Council, NSC, has concluded plans to use the Nigeria’s seafood industry to reboot the economy and get its workforce up and running again despite the coronavirus, COVID-19, pandemic.

Ahead of the move, the Council has also advised coastal states to begin to think of using resources from the sea to their advantage with a view to developing their communities and economies.

Speaking at a stakeholders meeting of seafood industry players, Chief Executive Officer of the Norwegian Seafood Council, Renate Larsen, said that nations should take advantage of the opportunities the pandemic has presented for coastal nations to deepen the use of the sea and its resources.

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“For Norway and other seafood nations, this is a real opportunity for a blue revolution and illustrate the real meaning of sustainability – social, economic and environmentally. Seafood can be an important part of the solution in terms of rebuilding communities, creating jobs and responsible and low-carbon footprint food production”, he stated.

According to Larsen, Norway is the second largest exporter of seafood in the world, and the largest producer of Atlantic salmon. Last year 36 million daily meals of Norwegian seafood were eaten across 149 countries around the world.

He disclosed that as the society is slowly gradually opening up after successfully curbing the spread of the virus in Norway, the job of how to get the economy back on track has started in earnest.

He also said that in the past week, Prime Minister Erna Solberg, and Fisheries Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, have been meeting with representatives from the seafood industry to discuss what role it should play in rebuilding the economy.

The Council boss further disclosed that during the corona crisis, the Norwegian seafood industry was fully operating, as it is classified as essential for food security.

Exports of salmon, cod and other seafoods have been relatively stable, but with large differences between species, products, and markets.

“The world is awakening to a new world order after this crisis, and we will feel the repercussions for a long time, both in terms of economic uncertainty and in our everyday choices. But the world will move on, we still have a mountain to climb when it comes to tackling climate change and food security, and investments into responsible seafood production are part of the solution.

“In Norway we are in a very fortunate position to be in the financial situation to boost industry and to get new and sustainable projects off the ground in the seafood sector quickly after this crisis. It can be a huge opportunity for the seafood industry, not just in Norway, but also in many of our important export markets, where jobs are created in processing, distribution and sales,” says Larsen.

The important role of the seafood industry, post-corona, is also highlighted by Professor of Industrial Economics at the University of Stavanger, Norway, Ragnar Tveterås, who works closely with the Council. He said that there are potentials in the seafood industry to jump-start the economies of those nations that suffered the impact of the pandemic.

“There is a potential to create jobs in all parts of the value chain in the seafood sector. Through quick and decisive action by decision makers the seafood industry could create even more jobs in a situation where there are many competent hands and heads available,” Tveterås said.

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