More seafood to Egypt from Norway's sustainable production

Ahmed Kotb , Tuesday 23 Jan 2024

Egypt's total seafood production has reached about 2.1 million tons in 2023, with around 85 percent self-sufficiency rate, according to the Lakes and Fish Resources Protection and Development Agency, with efforts to bridge the supply and demand gap through importing high-quality seafood from countries like Norway.

From left to right: Trond Kostveit, Director of Africa at the Norwegian Seafood Council Mostafa El-Naggari, Chairman of Agriculture and Irrigation Committee, EBA Hassan El Shafie, Board Member and Chairman of the SME Committee in EBA Arild Oksnevad, Head of Development and Business Cooperation, Royal Norwegian Embassy in Cairo Josse Dorra Fiani, Founder and President - Knowledge Economy Foundation and Kamal Ibrahim, Trade Economic Adviser at the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Cairo.


Kamal Nabil, trade and economic adviser at the Royal Norwegian embassy in Cairo, indicated that bilateral trade volume between the two countries has reached $200 million during the first ten months of 2023, according to the latest data from the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.

Norway aspires to maximize bilateral cooperation with Egypt to increase trade relations, which have seen continuous efforts and several business meetings, especially in the seafood sector, Nabil added.

In December 2023, the Norwegian embassy in collaboration with the Egyptian Businessmen’s Association (EBA) arranged a business meeting in Cairo between the Norwegian Seafood Council (NSC) delegation and the EBA officials along with major Egyptian companies in the seafood sector.

They discussed possible collaboration opportunities between Norwegian exporters and Egyptian importers, including the possibility for Norwegian companies to supply major raw materials to Egyptian factories, for exporting seafood abroad and benefiting from international trade agreements between Egypt and related countries.

Norwegian seafood

The Norwegian seafood industry has adopted policies that maintain the highest quality standards by adhering to laws and monitoring emission rates globally, which ensure the provision of safe and sustainable health products to consumers globally, including Egypt.

Trond Kostveit, Africa director at the NSC, said the council focuses on developing Norwegian seafood access to markets, including Egypt and other African markets, exporting the main seafood products to Africa like dried fish, salted fish, herring, mackerel, and salmon.

Norway, producing more than half of the world's salmon, is the primary and largest salmon-farming country in the Atlantic Ocean, Nabil said.

"The country's sustainable aquaculture sector continues to evolve, adapting to new developments and increasing demands in the fish trade market," he noted.

The total Norwegian seafood exports amounted to around $93.4 million. Herring was the largest among Norwegian fish exports to Egypt during the first 11 months of 2023, reaching around $42 million. Mackerel is the second with a value of $29.4 million, followed by salmon at $14.7 million, Nabil added.

Norway is the second largest exporting country of high-quality seafood worldwide, with 153 markets. Egypt is one of the biggest Arab countries in Africa that import Norwegian fish and seafood, Nabil indicated.

Sustainable seafood production

Besides Norway's commitment to sustainable seafood production and high quality, it exerts efforts to monitor the environmental impact of fish farming and investment with advanced pioneering technologies, which makes it a global seafood leader, enhancing its bilateral trade and cooperation globally.

Norwegian city Bergen, known as the fish and seafood trade headquarters, has been supplying its locals with fresh seafood, with its fish market dating back to 1276, Ahram Online reported after visiting the city during a study trip organized by the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Egypt and the Norwegian Seafood Council.

Moreover, the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research (IMR) leads sustainable exploration efforts in the fishing industry.

Bjørn Erik Axelsen, IMR’s research head, is spearheading initiatives to promote sustainable exploration of marine resources. "IMR, recognized as one of the largest marine research institutes in Europe, is dedicated to serving as a neutral knowledge provider for Norway and the international community," he said.

In Norway, he said, a coastline that is the second longest in the world, with a marine area six times larger than its land area, presents a significant monitoring challenge. The vast sea areas under Norwegian jurisdiction demand collaborative action among coastal states to effectively manage and conserve fish stocks and marine ecosystems.

IMR's involvement with the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) has contributed to shaping fisheries management, Axelsen added, and formulation of advice and recommendations for sustainable management practices.

IMR monitors and analyzes the impact of various pressures and activities, fish stocks, marine populations, and environmental changes, contributing to climate change research, Axelsen said.

Managing fisheries and marine resources

Frank Bakke-Jensen, Norway's Directorate of Fisheries head, highlighted the Directorate's commitment to balancing commercial interests with sustainable practices, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, which focuses on conserving and sustainably using the oceans, seas, and marine resources, making it a global leader in sustainable management and industry growth.

The Directorate collaborates with international partners by providing satellite-based monitoring of fishing activities and sharing expertise on sustainable fishery practices, which has noticeably increased catch efficiency, Bakke-Jensen added.

However, he added, challenges such as climate change and shifting fish stock patterns have necessitated innovative approaches to fisheries management.

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