Climate and biodiversity are high on the agenda in many countries. Today, the Blue Economy enjoys just as much investor attention as the Green Economy.
Seafood consumption has doubled since the 1960s and now accounts for about four percent of the global food supply. At the same time, fish is an effective food protein that can contribute to the United Nations' second Sustainable Development Goal (to achieve food security, improve nutrition, end hunger and promote sustainable agriculture). In addition, fish also has a smaller environmental footprint than meat. If global fish consumption were increased, the world would be closer to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals on many levels. Fish is perhaps the most sustainable protein the world has, at least by volume.
The fishing industry in Norway has re-invested billions of NOK generated from its enormous success in numerous salmon farms. The goal is to further increase the global food supply of the world's most sustainable protein. In doing so, the companies are investing in subcontractors along the coast and in farms that operate their business efficiently and sustainably. Small underwater robots that monitor and clean the grid are being developed with the Norwegian and global markets in mind. Solar panels are replacing diesel generators. Along the coast, there are companies developing products that use the whole fish, not just the fillet. Smolt plants and automated fillet factories are being built for this purpose.
Large-scale production of fast-growing seaweed.
Knowledge of the Blue Economy has increased significantly over the past decade. Economically, the ocean is the seventh largest economy in the world with three billion people relying on it (OECD). Ecologically, all life on Earth depends on the ocean. More than half of the oxygen humans breathe originates in the ocean, absorbing 21 percent of the planet's carbon emissions. Large-scale production of fast-growing kelp, for example, can remove greenhouse gas emissions from the atmosphere in highly productive marine areas. Such solutions often include a so-called "blue forest," for example kelp, seagrass or algae. Carbon that the ocean and marine systems absorb and store is called "baluer carbon".
So what does it mean for future value creation in the Blue Economy?
The green transition is leading to an increase in demand for raw materials such as copper, zinc, cobalt, lithium, silver and gold. In a less global world, the strategic importance of minerals is also growing. Europe consumes about 20 percent of the world's minerals, but extracts only three percent. All of these minerals are also found on the ocean floors. So the question is, can they be extracted?
Areas in the Pacific Ocean off South America and on the volcanic ridges between Jan Mayen and Bjørnøya are areas with documented significant discoveries. Whether minerals should be mined from the seabed will certainly be debated for some years to come, because words and statements such as "biodiversity" and "preserve principles" are powerful as well as important food for thought. But the sea has given its inhabitants a chance for new prosperity - for the future. In Norway, we have lived with and by the sea for as long as we can trace the settlement of our long land. The sea is important for our prosperity and our identity. The sea is our DNA.