"This much is certain: Seafood is Norway's third biggest export industry; the aquaculture industry is playing an increasingly significant role in food production - and its significance will only increase. The research environments at Ås and Adamstuen are world leading in this area, so your are privileged to be planning a career within aquaculture," said Lisbeth Berg-Hansen, Norway's Minister of Fisheries and Costal Affairs.
She added that these research environments have played a crucial role in the development of today's aquaculture industry, particularly in the areas of feed, breeding and fish health. They "have been, and will continue to be, very important for the seafood industry, both in terms of research and in terms of recruiting key areas of aquaculture," she said.
The minister visited UMB on Thursday to acquaint herself better with research and education at The Veterinary Institute (VI), the Norwegian School of Veterinary Sciences (NVH), UMB – and the upcoming merger between NVH and UMB.
At the start of her visit, she was informed about current research on fish health, breeding, feed and sustainable aquaculture. Furthermore, she heard about the importance of the Veterinary Institute's fish health monitoring for Norwegian salmon exports. She also heard more about the plans for the new, merged, university: Norwegian University of Life Sciences, to be established 1 January 2014.
But while she was here, she also gave a talk to students on the importance of the aquaculture industry and the exciting opportunities it can offer.
"Norway is a superpower when it comes to seafood, and I think the ocean holds the answers to many of the world's challenges: We see an extreme population growth, and given this we will need to produce a lot more food," the Minister said.
She expressed hope that aquaculture, and aquaculture research, will play a crucial role to amend this.
"The aquaculture industry would not have come so far as it has today if it was not for research, and it will not be able to continue developing and expanding without research. Research has provided us with new, essential knowledge about such issues as breeding, feed and vaccines. Research on fish feed is one of the research projects I know you are making vital contributions to, contributions which are crucial to increasing food security in the future," she added.
The Minister said she feels we have a moral obligation to contribute to increasing the world's food supplies, and that the aquaculture industry can play a key role in accomplishing this.