The government of Norway has released an updated edition of its ocean strategy with a renewed focus on a sustainable blue economy.
The ocean around Norway is rich in both fuel resources and a diverse array of fish and seafood, which have enabled the country to build a world leading sustainable aquaculture industry. However, the strategy’s preface notes: ‘the ocean is exposed to pollution, marine litter, climate changes, loss of biodiversity, and overexploitation of the resources.’ The new version of the Norwegian ocean strategy is designed to address these issues, while maintaining Norway’s commitment to its ocean-based industries.
The new strategy outlines a number of commitments on the part of the Norwegian government to support sustainability and competitiveness in its ocean economy, including:
- Developing an action plan for green shipping with the goal of reducing maritime emissions in the region by 50% by 2030;
- Implementing an Ocean Dialogue Forum to facilitate communication and information exchange between national and regional bodies;
- Supporting research and development in the field of carbon capture and storage; and
- Working to protect marine biodiversity and combat the prevailing problem of marine plastic pollution.
The Norwegian ocean strategy says: ‘The opportunities for future growth and new jobs are considerable for industries operating in global markets; both in established industries such as oil and gas, fisheries, aquaculture and shipping, as well as in industries such as coastal-based tourism, space activity, and emerging industries such as offshore wind, seabed minerals, and new biological resources for food and pharmaceuticals. The ocean will continue to be one of Norway’s main sources of jobs, value creation and welfare throughout the country in the foreseeable future, and could at the same time help solving the environmental and climate challenges the world is facing.’
In October 2019 Norway will host the Our Ocean conference, bringing together representatives of national governments, academia, industry and civil society to exchange information and resources on setting sustainable ocean policy.