Ladies and gentlemen,
I am not a “fisherperson”, but I love sailing along our long Norwegian coastline and experience how people live and survive on the outer islands.
I am really amazed by the energy and courage the people show in these often scarcely populated places. Fisheries are of course most important. I meet people from the far north to the deep south, and I am always proud to see how creative people really are.
Two years ago I was in the Lofoten islands, where I observed and filmed fishermen, fishing mackerel. But the fishing boat was not local; it belonged to an island further south. People in northern Norway are not familiar with fishing mackerel, because the species has NOT been there before. Something is obviously changing! It told me that we must be aware of changes in our environment.
We have challenges – common challenges that must be solved, not only here in Norway, but globally. Nor-Fishing has a leading role – also internationally – and offers a vital venue for addressing these important issues.
We are now 7 billion people on the planet. And the population is growing rapidly. All these people need food. Part of the solution to this challenge lies in the oceans. But in order to protect the resources in the oceans also for future generations, we need sustainable management. Education, knowledge, and good solutions are vital if the world is to succeed in harvesting the resources so important for everyone. We have to act wisely!
In closing, I would like to draw the attention to another fact which also is a sign of a changing world: Women are now increasingly more important actors in the industry. I would like to point out that it is of course purely coincidental, - and certainly not a “feminist coup d’état” - that women dominate today’s official opening. But as it happens, I am accompanied here today by three women in leading positions, – namely:
Minister of Fisheries - Elisabeth Aspaker, Mayor of Trondheim - Rita Ottervik and Director of Fisheries and Chairman of the Nor-Fishing Foundation - Liv Holmefjord.
This was probably unthinkable when the first Nor-Fishing exhibition was arranged in 1960!
But – we have not forgotten our men!
For more than 50 years Nor-Fishing has been an important venue for the fisheries industry, for the exchange of news, technology – and not least – for the sector to meet, formand strengthen partnerships.
I wish you all a fruitful, interesting and enjoyable time here in Trondheim.
With these words, it is a great pleasure for me to declare Nor-Fishing 2014 officially open!