the interview Liv Holmefjord, Director General of Fisheries, Directorate of Fisheries, Norway Liv Holmefjord was appointed Director General of Fisheries in Norway in 2008 for a six -year period, before having her target extended for another six years in 2014. The Directorate of Fisheries is an advisory and executive body in matters pertaining to fishing and the management of aquaculture. The main tasks involve regulation, guidance, supervision, resource management and control. Ms Holmefjord is a graduate economist from the Norwegian School of Economics and has been working for most of her career in the seafood sector. After university she then worked in the Norwegian Fisheries Bank and in the State Food and Regional Development Fun before becoming Deputy Fisheries Director in 2004. She has also stood as chairperson of the board of the Nor-Fishing Foundation since 2009. In this exclusive interview with International Aquafeed magazine, Ms Holmefjord explores the rise in importance of “crossover knowledge” and whether 2017 is the year to thwart sea lice altogether as well as what to expect at this year’s Aqua Nor running from the August 15-18, 2017.
What drives your passion for aquaculture?
I grew up in a small coastal community on the west coast of Norway. My grandfather, uncles and father were all fishermen. They established a salmon farming company in 1975. I have therefore followed the development in this industry for the last 40 years. The industry produces healthy food, but is also an important source of income in many coastal communities.
What do you believe lies behind the success of Aqua Nor?
I think it is the combination of the exhibition and different seminars covering important aspects of the aquaculture industry. Aqua Nor is a meeting place. In addition to national and international players from the industry, you will find researchers and managers, politicians and students as well as many more.
What aspects of the show can visitors look forward to in particular?
They will meet many exhibitors who have been present at Aqua Nor for decades. These companies have shown ability to innovate and find new solutions to different challenges the industry has been facing. For the last couple of years we have also seen increasing interest from for example the offshore oil and gas industry. So “crossover knowledge” from other industries might be a keyword for Aqua Nor 2017.
Is 2017 the year that we will see a technology breakthrough to thwart sea lice in Norway?
It is difficult to say. Both the industry and research institutions are working hard to try to develop new and better measures to prevent sea lice as a problem both to farmed and wild salmon. I also think in the future we will be dependent on a 'box' containing different 'tools' to be able to keep the level of sea lice within acceptable limits.
What is something that makes Norway’s aquaculture industry different to the rest of the world?
Norway is blessed with a long and sheltered coastline, well suited for fish farming. In other words, the natural conditions are probably better than in many other parts of the world – at least for salmon farming. Another important factor behind the growth of salmon farming in Norway is the cooperation between scientists, different authorities and the industry. Through this cooperation, knowledge has been developed on important issues like fish health, production technology and environmental impacts. I guess this has been the case in other countries as well. But there have also been setbacks in Norwegian aquaculture. Commercialisation of other farmed species like cod and mussels has for example not been a success.
Why is it so important that young people are enthused by aquaculture?
It is important for the future development of a sustainable industry that young people find it as an attractive place to work. In the Nor-Fishing Foundation we see it as one of our tasks to increase the knowledge about fish farming among students. Aqua Nor could be an arena for “matching” companies with possible new employees.
What more can our industry be doing to promote consumer awareness of sustainable aquaculture?
Aquaculture has to be a transparent and innovative industry, open to new ideas both when it comes to technology and how to operate. They have to be honest about possible environmental challenges and how to solve them. Consumers want healthy food, but the food should also be produced in a sustainable way.
Do you believe that aquaculture will sustainably feed our ever-growing population?
According to the FAO, aquaculture is one of the fastest growing food-production sectors in the world. I think there is a potential for further growth, both in Norway and globally, but the growth has to be based on long-term sustainability and effective governance, whilst of course science and further knowledge is needed.
54 | July 2017 - International Aquafeed