Aquaculture operations and oil & gas extraction have a long-standing presence in the Norwegian Sea, and the nature of these industries is expected to change in the coming years. In export value, Norway is the second largest exporter of seafood worldwide and the largest producer of Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar), generating a value of EUR 6.2 bill and employing almost 8 000 people. The Norwegian industry is expected to grow 5-fold by 2050. Nevertheless, the salmon aquaculture still has a negative environmental image. An increase in production in Norway is today limited mainly by disease control, shortage of major feed ingredients, and the environmental impact of tail water and particulate waste discharged from aquaculture operations, especially close to shore. The authorities are limiting the growth of the industry by limiting the standing biomass on site and the number of sites to give the time for the industry to find solution to the above-mentioned challenges. Therefore, to support the above- mentioned growth with in consideration of spatial limitations in the coastal areas, further aquaculture activity may need to be moved further offshore or combined with other types of aquaculture (seaweed) or other coastal activities (tourism) to address environmental impacts and local perceptions. Innovative solutions, including integrated multitrophic aquaculture (IMTA) where the fish aquaculture is combined with low-level trophic organism aquaculture, are already under consideration in Norway to address this issue.
Conversely, as oil & gas installations age, it is anticipated that 10% of the remaining platforms will be decommissioned by 2024. Some of these offshore installations could potentially serve for other sectors aiming to move further offshore, including aquaculture. Nevertheless, uncertain environmental impacts and regulatory challenges would need to be addressed.
In order to address these challenges, new synergies are being considered to meet the sector’s anticipated needs. However, knowledge gaps exist regarding economic feasibility and environmental impacts of potential use combinations. The planning and policy processes administered by the county councils, the directorate of fisheries, Norwegian food safety authority, and municipalities may benefit from further investigation and MULTI-FRAME scenarios.
How will this information be used?
County councils will participate in shaping the scenarios, as they will eventually inform planning and development processes. (see more below under ‘Supporting stakeholders’).