Norway and Vietnam boost cooperation in aquaculture and seafood export

VOV.VN - The Norwegian Embassy in Hanoi and Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) co-organized a seminar “Norway-Vietnam: Cooperation opportunities in aquaculture and seafood” in Hanoi on February 28.

The seminar was held as part of an official visit to Vietnam by State Secretary of Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Erling Rimestad. It brought together authorities, business executives and stakeholders of both countries to share their aquaculture experiences and expertise, as well as discuss the potential for business-to-business cooperation in aquaculture, processing and import-export of seafood products.

In her opening remarks, Ambassador of Norway to Vietnam Hilde Solbakken noted “Norway takes pride in the cooperation with Vietnam in the fisheries, aquaculture, and marine sectors, and sees this a central part of the more than 50 years of friendship and cooperation since we established diplomatic relations in 1971”.

Visiting Vietnam for the first time, State Secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Erling Rimestad spoke highly of the Norway-Vietnam ties, particularly the productive cooperation between the two countries in the fisheries sector.

“We find ourselves at the top of the list of seafood exporters – Norway as the second biggest in the world, and Vietnam as the third biggest. We are in the fortunate position that this does not make us competitors – in fact we complement each other as seafood nations. Norway exports species such as salmon, cod, king crab and shrimps from the sea. Vietnam is a big supplier of farmed pangasius and shrimp. The processing of Norwegian mackerel in Vietnam, also shows how we can both benefit in the seafood value chain,” emphasized Rimestad.

Co-chairing the seminar, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Phung Duc Tien highly appreciated the support and assistance from Norway to his ministry and the fisheries sector for more than 30 years, which covers different segments from development of a regulatory framework to technical assistance, capacity building and training.

“This seminar is a great opportunity for the two countries to deepen our bilateral cooperation in marine aquaculture on an industrial scale, to promote bilateral trade in seafood products, and to realize the areas of cooperation as stated in the Letter of Intent signed between Norway and Vietnam in May 2021,” said Tien.

He also provided some updates on the situation of seafood production and export in Vietnam over the past years, and at the same time highlighted the policies, priorities and strategies of Vietnam for its fisheries sector towards effective and sustainable growth of the marine aquaculture in the coming decades.

Director General of the Fisheries Department Tran Dinh Luan took the floor, sharing the priorities of the Vietnam’s fisheries sector in the coming time, particularly in the shift from traditional aquaculture model to one on industrial scale, focusing more on the quality of the products and environmental protection.

“Vietnam has made important achievements in the marine aquaculture technologies and techniques, and is now shifting to marine aquaculture on an industrial scale, which is more sustainable from both social and economic perspectives taking into consideration the protection of natural resources and the environment and to meet the strict requirements of the consumption markets,” said Luan.

He expressed hopes to learn more from Norway’s experiences in developing the national branding for Norwegian salmon in order to develop a national brand for Vietnam’s products of marine aquaculture on industrial scale.

The SEA Director of the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) Asbjørn Warvik Rørtveit brought to the seminar the success story of Norwegian salmon.

“Combining traditions with knowledge and a modern scientific approach, always keeping the environmental context in mind, forms the basis of Norwegian aquaculture. Norway was the first country to successfully farm and commercialize Atlantic salmon back in the 70s. The Norwegian coastline, which reaches far into the Arctic, offers ideal conditions for the fish that thrives in cold waters. Here, the salmon can live in its natural environment. For thousands of years, Norwegian fishermen have survived thanks to our in-depth knowledge about the Norwegian seas, and the fish itself – what they need and where they thrive. Today, we continue to push boundaries to evolve and improve when it comes to technology and sustainability.”

In addition, he also announced an official plan to be more active in Vietnam.

“In 2023, NSC will strengthen promotional activities in Vietnam so that many consumers know about the presence of Norwegian seafood, as well as build programs to meet, connect and promote trade between import and export enterprises of the two countries. Any Vietnamese importer can register to use the trademark “Seafood from Norway” to attach to their products. The simple registration process will bring great benefits to businesses when the demand for product origin transparency is increasing in the Vietnamese market,” said the SEA Director of NSC.

With similarly long coastlines, both Norway and Vietnam are top seafood exporters in the world: Norway - the second and Vietnam the third. Norway is a country with the leading fishing and aquaculture industry in the world with the core values ​​of sustainable development, and environmental protection in parallel with continuously improving the economic value economy and reputation of national seafood globally. Vietnam is a country with great potential to develop aquaculture with sustainable and responsible management.

Protecting the planet and oceans by ensuring the seafood we produce has the lowest possible impact is at the heart of everything being done in Norway’s fisheries industry. Norway adopts a holistic ecosystem-based approach to fisheries and aquaculture management with strict regulations to protect the oceans and various species in the waters.

Meanwhile, Vietnam already sets out a number of goals including reducing fishing intensity on marine natural resources and enhancing marine aquaculture in appropriate areas as specified in the Fisheries Development Strategy to 2030, with a vision to 2045 issued in 2021 under a Prime Minister decision. The country is also in a good position to participate deeply in the global value chain and determined to exploit the potential and use of ocean resources responsibly and sustainably.

Norway has many useful lessons throughout the entire value chain of the industry to share with Vietnam to make the aquaculture practices more sustainable and have lower carbon footprints. By working together, both sides can develop greener and sustainable practices for Vietnam’s fisheries industry, which can further inspire innovation, and they can be successful and responsible seafood nations.

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