UK and Norway seek to strengthen seafood ties, boost consumption at summit meeting

Industry groups, especially in the U.K., point toward poor electronic paperwork capabilities as a primary cause of inefficient trade
Norwegian Minister for Fisheries and Ocean Policy Cecilie Myrseth
Norwegian Minister for Fisheries and Ocean Policy Cecilie Myrseth | Photo courtesy of Cecilie Myrseth/LinkedIn
6 Min

Norway has long been a leading exporter of seafood to the United Kingdom, with the Scandinavian country holding an estimated 20 percent share of the U.K. seafood import market just last year.

However, there are worrying Norway-U.K. seafood trends arising, mainly regarding declining fish consumption among Britons and subsequent dips in import volumes of Norwegian cod, salmon, and prawns.

This topic was a major discussion point at the 2024 Norway-U.K. Seafood Summit, held on 27 February at Fishmongers’ Hall in London, where the recently appointed Norwegian Minister for Fisheries and Ocean Policy Cecilie Myrseth and the U.K. Minister for Food, Farming, and Fisheries Mark Spencer both outlined the importance of collaboration between the two countries in strengthening and developing seafood trade and relations.

Myrseth noted that last year, Norway exported around 135,000 metric tons (MT) of seafood to the U.K., highlighting how crucial the U.K. market is to the Norwegian seafood industry and adding that trade will further be supported by the electronic export health certification (EHC) system that Norway recently implemented.

No problems with the system have been reported so far, she said.

“I hope we can continue to have constructive dialogue to reduce barriers to seafood trade between our two countries,” Myrseth said.

As for Norway’s internal efforts, Myrseth told the summit that a heavy focus has been placed on ensuring production is sustainable, acknowledging that there have been continuous improvements but there is plenty of room for more.

“Too many fish die before slaughter – in many cases because laws and regulations are not being followed,” she said. “That is not acceptable.”

To this end, Myrseth confirmed the Norwegian government is now preparing a whitepaper regarding animal welfare that covers all farming areas. This will follow close on the heels of another whitepaper the government released in January regarding fishing quotas, prioritizing the distribution of resources in a “fairer way.”

Spencer told the summit that the U.K. government recognizes the importance of Norwegian seafood, adding that providing U.K. consumers with easy access to these products is essential for consumer choice, health, and balanced diets.

Therefore, maintaining this trade is crucial to U.K.-Norway supply chains, Spencer said.

As for encouraging more seafood consumption, Spencer pointed toward ...

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