Norway’s seafood industry has made it clear that it remains committed to providing safe, sustainable and nutritious food during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.
On 14th March, the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries issued a formal letter identifying the value chain supporting food production and delivery as critical functions to society.
‘The Norwegian seafood industry plays a very important role in the food supply chain, not only in Norway, but also across the world. In these difficult times it is important to keep society going, and ensure that everyone has access to healthy and nutritious foods,’ said Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, Norway’s newly appointed Minister of Fisheries and Seafood.
This classification as a critical societal function means the Norwegian seafood industry will aim to keep operations running as normally as possible.
‘Perhaps now more than ever it is important to keep up the production and supply of healthy and nutritious foods, and we are very happy that the Norwegian government recognises the vital part the Norwegian seafood industry plays in this. We are committed to playing our part and finding solutions to keep up a good supply of Norwegian seafood throughout these troubling times,’ commented Renate Larsen, CEO of the Norwegian Seafood Council.
The Norwegian government has taken drastic steps to halt the spread of the Covid-19 virus. Schools, cinemas, restaurants and bars have been told to close and citizens encouraged to stay at home as much as possible. As an industry of critical importance, the seafood industry will have access to childcare, and the transport industry is exempt from some of the strictest quarantine regulations for personnel, to ensure the flow of goods across borders.
Despite many borders across Europe now being shut, they are not closed to goods transport. This has been confirmed in a statement from the Norwegian government on the 15th March, and also reflects the issued guidelines from the European commission. For overseas markets extra air freight routes are being established as passenger flights are suspended.
Norway exports 95% of its seafood, and many countries depend on Norwegian seafood to meet local demand. The Norwegian industry is now working together with the Norwegian government to ensure deliveries and logistics can continue to operate as smoothly as possible in a very uncertain situation.
‘These are unprecedented times. Nobody really knows what we are facing around the corner. What we do know is that people need to eat. And we have some of the best and healthiest foods around. Ensuring a stable supply really is a critical function of society, and as a seafood nation we take our responsibility very seriously,’ Renate Larsen said.