Sustainability topped the agenda at this year's annual Norwegian-UK Seafood Summit, which took place digitally on Thursday 20th January.
'Flying the Flag for Seafood in a Sustainable Future’, hosted by the Norwegian Seafood Council’s UK director Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr, brought together experts from both the UK and Norway to share knowledge and insight about sustainability, the steps that the industry has already taken to become more sustainable, and what is needed for the future.
Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr set the scene with a recap of how Norwegian exports of cod and haddock to the UK rose by 10% last year, with fish and chip shops as well as retail benefitting, while the restaurant industry had different challenges to overcome during Covid restrictions.
He described seafood as “the number one superfood”, and exhorted the industry to encourage consumers to embrace the health advantages, as well as to become “more sustainability aware”.
CJ Jackson from the Billingsgate Seafood School led the audience on a virtual tour of the market and underlined how important storytelling is for consumers to understand the connection between fillets and where they come from.
CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) Renate Larsen explained that sustainability is the pre-requisite for “everything we [NSC] do and we must communicate clearly about how the industry works to balance all the elements of sustainability as per the UN’s Sustainability Development Goals”. She also reminded the audience that fish and seafood need to be part of the solution for the future of food, as well as being included as an important element of the flexitarian diet.
The Norwegian minister of fisheries, Bjørnar Skjæran, spoke of the Free Trade Agreement and the first Bilateral Fisheries Agreement, signed by Norway and the UK in 2021, as indicators for a “strong future relationship in the seafood sector”.
“We are optimistic that our agreements with the UK – a key partner, not only in the seafood trade – will broaden cooperation in the years to come,” he said.
Other highlights from the webinar included:
Marcus Coleman, CEO of Seafish, shared case studies from a range of companies and how they are tackling sustainability issues, and he announced the launch of a CO2 Emissions Profiling Tool later this year
Young’s Seafood sustainability manager, Cameron Moffat, talked of how important it is for the fishing industry, and retailers, to deliver sustainable fish to UK consumers
Tor Bjørklund Larsen of the Norwegian Fishermen’s Association updated the audience on MSC labelling, and how there will be new reference points in place for cod stock assessment in time for the 2023 fishing season
The importance of research and development investment for marine management was key for Hans Petter Næs of the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund, who explained how R&D underpins vital sustainability innovations in Norwegian fisheries
In closing, Hans Frode Kielland Asmyhr expressed his wish that the industry will be able to meet again face-to-face for next year’s seafood summit.
To watch the webinar, please click here.