Norway Updates Ocean Strategy

file photo
file photo

Published Jun 4, 2019 12:56 AM by The Maritime Executive

The Norwegian Government has released an updated Ocean Strategy, noting that the nation's blue economy has been important for centuries.

The Norwegian ocean areas contain rich oil and gas resources, which have played a key role in the development of the nation's welfare state. At the same time, Norway's ocean is the basis for one of the world’s largest and most sustainable seafood industries, as well as a large maritime industry. 

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) estimates that the ocean economy's contribution to global value creation will be doubled by 2030, compared to 2010. 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 Norwegian Government has therefore committed to: 

• Help develop technology for the capture, transport and storage of carbon dioxide (CO2) in reservoirs on the continental shelf, having an ambition to realize a cost-effective solution for full-scale CO2-management facilities in Norway.
• Present an action plan for green shipping with the ambition to reduce emissions from domestic maritime traffic and fisheries by half by 2030, including stimulating zero- and low-emission solutions in all vessel categories.
• Facilitate adequate and relevant competence which is vital to good management, adaptability and sustainable growth in the ocean industries, including strengthening digital competence through a targeted initiative.
• Continue to strive for good and equal working conditions, and strengthen the efforts against labor crime and unreported employment.
• Contribute to a better dialogue between the regional and national levels by establishing an Ocean Dialogue Forum between the Government, the county municipalities, the Sami Parliament, and representatives from the coastal municipalities.
• Enable vital local communities in all parts of the country. In the regional reform, county municipalities are given greater responsibility for regional industrial- and competence policy.
• Ensure a holistic framework for ocean-based industries, including area-specific frameworks for petroleum activity in the management plans for the Norwegian sea areas.
• Continue to have predictable frameworks for the established ocean industries; oil and gas, shipping and the seafood industry, as well as facilitating new, sustainable ocean industries through a legal framework and good framework conditions.
• Open one or two areas for licenses for renewable offshore energy production and adopt regulations to the Ocean Energy Act.
• Manage seabed minerals in line with the new Seabed Minerals Act, and consider opening parts of the Norwegian shelf for commercial and sustainable extraction of seabed minerals.
• Develop a legal framework for offshore aquaculture that facilitates further growth in the aquaculture sector.
• Follow up on the review of the industry-oriented policy instruments, aiming to improve and simplify the current schemes to facilitate value creation and profitable jobs.
• Continue to focus on knowledge of the ocean, good management, clean and rich oceans, healthy and safe seafood and sustainable industry development in line with the priorities of the Long-term plan for research and higher education.
• Continue to facilitate for research infrastructure and good testing facilities for the ocean industries, for example through following-up on the work on Ocean Space Laboratories.
• Further develop the Norwegian Centre for Oil Spill Preparedness and Marine Environment, for example by examining the establishment of testing and exercise facilities for oil spill preparedness technology in Fiskebøl.
• Contribute to innovation by supporting research and technology development across the ocean industries, and continue to focus on digitalization and autonomous operations in the ocean industries.
• Continue to have sustainable and value creating oceans as a key area in the Norwegian policy for the Arctic.
• Help develop sustainable ocean management internationally through active participation in UN ocean processes, through the high-level panel for a sustainable ocean economy, as the organizer of the Our Ocean Conference 2019, through ocean dialogues with select countries, and through continued efforts to promote measures in order to help attain the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
• Secure market access through trade agreements and support the promotion of Norwegian ocean industries abroad, for example through “Branding the Blue” and “The Explorer” in Innovation Norway, and have the ocean as the theme for the Norwegian pavilion at EXPO 2020 Dubai.
• Continue the efforts to combat marine litter and microplastics nationally and internationally.
• Continue the Norwegian aid to sustainable management and value creation in ocean-based industries through the programs Ocean for Development, Oil for Development and Fish for Development.
• Strengthen the dialogue with the Norwegian business community on the possibilities of investing in ocean industries in developing countries.
• Work nationally and internationally to secure blue vegetation and blue forests in order to bind carbon and safeguard marine biodiversity.
• Prepare a strategy to strengthen the efforts on work against environmental crime both nationally and internationally.
• Strengthen the efforts to prevent and expose fisheries crime in Norway as well as internationally. Internationally, this will be done for example through the initiative “Blue Justice”, which aims to help developing countries combat fisheries crime.
• Emphasize the importance of the ocean as a food source in national and international work, for example by following up on the Global Action Network on Sustainable Food from the Oceans and Inland waters for Food Security and Nutrition in connection with the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition (2016–2025). 

The strategy is available here.