Aqua Nor is popular with fish farmers and industry suppliers from Norway and abroad, but next year's event may look very different to this.

‘Hybrid’ Aqua Nor confirmed for 2021

The organisers of the world’s biggest aquaculture trade show, Aqua Nor, have insisted the biennial event will take place next year, although they are now planning for it to be a “hybrid” physical and online event.

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The Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in the cancellation or postponement of nearly all the major aquaculture and seafood exhibitions and trade shows this and cast doubt over those being held next year.

But the Nor-Fishing Foundation, which organises Aqua Nor in Trondheim, Norway has reassured the industry and its suppliers will take place next August in one form or another.

Kristian Digre: Lessons learned from Nor-Fishing.

Digital experience

“Regardless of the unexpected pandemic, it would be a combination of physical and digital fair in 2021 - that has been our plan since the previous Aqua Nor. Aqua Nor 2021 will be the first hybrid fair,” said Kristian Digre, general manager of the Nor-Fishing Foundation.

An additional digital platform has long been considered to modernise and improve Aqua Nor, and this year the organisation’s digital plans were tested sister exhibition Nor-Fishing became fully digital.

“We gained a lot of experience from the digital concept during Nor-Fishing 2020 Digital,” said Digre in a press release.

“The participants have given us a lot of good feedback on what they want more of. We take this with us when planning Aqua Nor.

Physical part

“Adding a digital platform to the fair will add value for exhibitors who will have more opportunities to profile themselves. It will also make it easier for visitors, who for various reasons cannot physically participate, to see what is happening in Trondheim.

“At the same time, it is important for us to preserve the physical part of the fair as much as practically possible and infection control considerations allow. There is something very special about having a chat or meeting old acquaintances in the entrance hall area.”

Digre said the exhibition is currently planned to be held in its normal venue of Trondheim Spektrum but added that the Foundation also has a plan for various scenarios that may arise.

All situations covered

“Today’s measures could, for example, still apply in a year, or could become stricter or softened. In any case, we have good conditions for carrying out the event as planned, in a safe way that is in line with any infection control measures,” he said.

Should the Covid-19 situation worsen towards August, Aqua Nor 2021 will be fully digital.

“The exhibitors have given us feedback that it is highly desirable to organise the Aqua Nor exhibition, even if the situation makes it fully digital,” said Digre.

“The digital experience of the exhibition will be good, thanks in large part to the experiences and feedback we received from Nor-Fishing Digital. In any case, there will be an Aqua Nor exhibition in 2021.”

Kari Steinsbø: More functions on digital interface.

Two thirds sold

Exhibition manager Kari Steinsbø said two thirds of the capacity at Spektrum had been booked, with 20% of the bookings coming from outside Norway.

“It is only a matter of time before all capacity is full booked,” added Steinsbø, who added that many exhibitors were curious about what new opportunities arise with the additional digital platform.

“The user interface on the digital platform will be further developed and improved compared to Nor-Fishing Digital, and we will add more on-demand functions,” she said.

“In addition, we offer, among other things, video production from the stand, so that it becomes easier to show your own solutions to digital visitors.”