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Norway fisheries and aquaculture scientists visit Pacific

The Pacific Community (SPC) is hosting a delegation of Norwegian fisheries and aquaculture scientists and marine resources managers to scope out ways of sharing Norway’s extensive experience and marine capabilities with the Pacific region.

The team was in Fiji last week to meet with national and regional marine resources institutions and stakeholders. This week, they divide up to visit Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA) in Honiara and attend the SPC FAME Heads of Fisheries meeting at SPC HQ in New Caledonia.

In addition to management and utilization of the productive North Sea fisheries within their Exclusive Economic Zone, Norway, with its large salmon farming industry, is a world leader in sea-cage finfish aquaculture.

“Consequently, we are also world leaders in sea-cage engineering, in environmental management of aquaculture, and in fish health and genetics” says Magnus Petersen, Higher Executive Officer of Norad, the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.

“These are generic topics which span both temperate and tropical forms of aquaculture” responded Timothy Pickering, SPC Inland Aquaculture Advisor, “for which capacity is lacking in the new aquaculture industries developing here in the Pacific”.

The Norwegian delegation came to gather information about Pacific needs and gaps across a range of maritime sectors, both living and non-living. These include matters like delineation of maritime boundaries and exploration of seabed mineral resources.

After a packed week of meet-and-greet appointments and extensive discussions in Suva, the Norway delegation had a change of pace on Saturday. They visited two new private-sector tilapia fish hatcheries near Suva established by Arun Lata and Katarina Baleisuva. Those women entrepreneurs created their businesses with support provided by the Sustainable Pacific Aquaculture project funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) and administered by SPC FAME. This was an opportunity for the delegation to enter a dialogue with direct beneficiaries of the work that SPC does with its member governments and administrations.

Between both farms, the Norwegian delegation made a stop at the fish section of Nausori market and witnessed the sheer diversity of species on sale. They tried the popular Fijian delicacy nama (sea grapes) with kora (fermented grated coconut). “It’s good!” said Petersen, “Reminds me of Roquefort cheese!”.

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