The Aquafeed Interview

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The Aquafeed Interview
Liv Holmefjord has been Director General of Fisheries in Norway since 2008. The Directorate of Fisheries is an advisory and executive body in matters relating to fishing and management of aquaculture. Her main tasks involve regulation, guidance, supervision, resource management and control. She is also Chair of the Nor Fishing Foundation - an organisation established in 1992 by the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries, which today has the right and responsibility to hold the Norwegian International fisheries exhibition, Nor Fishing and Aqua Nor (held between 18 - 21 August, 2015). Following her father and grandfather who were fishermen, she has spent most of her career in the seafood sector. She was educated at the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Admin. 

Can you tell us a little bit about the origins of Aqua Nor and how it has developed? 
Regarding the origins of Aqua Nor there had been fisheries exhibitions in Trondheim (under the name Nor-Fishing) for several decades before the aquaculture conference in 1979 and the first ‘proper’ Aqua Nor in In 1981. Since then, Aqua Nor has been established as a bi-annual event concentrating on aquaculture. The exhibition has a 30-year long history and brings together a wide range of people, from local entrepreneurs to scientists and is a key point for the exchange of knowledge in the industry. It has grown rapidly, and is very different from its first early stages in the 70s. The structure of the industry has also changed: companies that exhibited used to be locally owned; now some of these large companies are listed on the stock exchange. Aqua Nor has developed along with the industry, and also the number of visitors has increased significantly. 
There is a new A1 hall that has been added for 2015. What does this signify with regards to the growth of Aqua Nor and the aquaculture industry in general? 
There are in fact a couple of new halls: A1 and A2. There has not only been an increase in exhibitors, but also in the number of those who wish to increase the size of their stand. The exhibition is now fully occupied and there is a long waiting list of exhibitors who wish to participate. The area that is covered is now the largest ever. This signifies a sense of optimism in the industry, but also dynamic development and the sharing of knowledge amongst the industry, scientists, researchers, public authorities, and local communities. 

Technology evolves quickly. What can visitors look forward to in the advanced fish farming technology show being held this year? 
Hopefully a lot! The Aqua Nor exhibition is where all the fields of technology, processes and services related to the farming of salmon as well as other species of fish and shellfish etc. are on display, and experts from all over the world get together to exchange experiences and learn about innovations. 

A key example of Aqua Nor’s commitment to technology is the innovation award. This year we received 17 applications. The three finalists that were selected have developed new and exciting solutions. The Board of Directors of the Nor-Fishing Foundation will discuss the proposed winners in a meeting on Monday 17 August, and the Innovation Award - consisting of NOK100, 000 and a diploma - will be presented to the winner during the Festive Evening in Trondheim at the Scandic Nidelven Hotel on Tuesday 18 August. 

However, it is important to mention that it is not just technology that will be showcased. Different services and scientific solutions will also be showcased, coupled with discussions; numerous seminars, mini conferences and presentations will be held on various subjects. 

Aqua Nor clearly also has a wide international reach and a strong focus on internationalism; examples of such are the Travel Award and the link with Aqua Sur in Latin America. Can you tell us a little about these things? 
With the need to increase global food production, aquaculture has to be an important part of this. Our specialty in Norway is farmed salmon, and the Nor Fishing foundation is quite convinced we have a lot to learn from other countries. 

The Travel Award was introduced in 2013 when we hosted a visitor from Pakistan. We are currently in the process of deciding who will be coming this year. The basis is for someone to come and learn about aquaculture and to make contact with experts; in return, we hope they will spread the word about Aqua Nor when they go back to their country. We are privileged in many ways in Norway and we try to contribute to sustainable aquaculture in other nations. 

We have cooperated with Aqua Sur for a long time. Atlantic salmon is the main farmed species in both Chile and Norway so there is a lot of synergy between the two countries. 

How many visitors and exhibitors are expected to attend this year? 
We are expecting 500 exhibitors from 27 countries and hope for 20,000 visitors - making this the biggest Aqua Nor yet. We hope to build upon our experience making this an important place to be. Aqua Nor is not only an exhibition, it is a meeting place for those involved in the industry from other countries, delegates and government authorities. There are also organised excursions on offer too. Students from Trondheim and the rest of Norway are invited to visit Aqua Nor free of charge on Friday 21st August 2015 to explore the opportunities offered by exhibitors and the aquaculture industry. 

Why is Norway well positioned to hold an international aquaculture event? 
Norway is a large seafood producer, both for wild-caught fish and aquaculture. This is a science-based industry and our cooperation between science, government and industry means that we have something to offer the rest of the world, but we can also learn from other countries. We have a long coastline in Norway; seafood is an incredibly important industry, alongside oil and gas. Seafood is the second largest export industry in Norway. Norway is the second largest exporter of seafood in the world after China. 

Trondheim itself has an attractive waterfront with harbour facilities. Skansen, which is only five minutes’ walk from the exhibition halls, offers the possibility of exhibiting full scale floating equipment and vessels in their right element.                                           

Read the magazine HERE.

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This blog is maintained by The Aquaculturists staff and is supported by the 
magazine International Aquafeed which is published by 
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