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Fisheries and aquaculture seen as most sustainable sector

Geir Lasse Taranger, research director of the Institute of Marine Research. Photo: Kyst.no
Geir Lasse Taranger, research director of the Institute of Marine Research. Photo: Kyst.no

Norwegians regard fisheries and aquaculture as the country’s most sustainable industry, a new survey has found.

Some 29 per cent of people questioned said the sector was sustainable, almost twice as many who answered oil and gas, which came second place in the study.  IT, other industries and tourism were next in the list.

Two out of three surveyed said they had confidence that fishing manages natural resources in a good and sustainable way.

Even more had confidence in fish farming, with 42 per cent agreeing it managed natural resources sustainably, against 37 per cent who disagreed.

The research, conducted by Opinion on behalf of the Institute of Marine Research, the University of Bergen and Bergen Municipality, was commissioned in connection with the Ocean conference, held online from Bergen on September 17.

Problems

One in three surveyed said they believed problems in the aquaculture industry, such as salmon lice and escapes, would increase in the next five years. 

Just over two in ten believed that problems would decrease, while close to four in ten thought they would be about the same as today. 

Nearly six out of ten Norwegians said they had great confidence in Norwegian management of marine resources, the highest approval rating ever recorded in the survey, which has been conducted four times since 2015.

Geir Lasse Taranger, research director at the Institute of Marine Research, said: ‘When one has compared protein production from different sources, the Norwegian aquaculture industry has emerged as the most sustainable protein producer in the world. 

Food production

‘This does not mean that there are no challenges, but there are also challenges related to food production on land.

‘There have been new reports that show how much pressure we have on land. Then it is exciting to see if it is possible to realise the views on more food production from the sea and at the same time maintain sustainability.

‘We believe it is possible, by having good knowledge and the right technology,’ added Taranger, who held a session during the Ocean conference on the theme of knowledge-based utilisation of marine resources.

The survey was conducted among a representative sample of 1,000 Norwegians.