Prime Minister Erna Solberg recently attended two opening ceremonies in Bergen on the same day. Photo © Eivind Senneset, University of Bergen.

Norway PM launches ocean initiatives in Bergen

Norway’s Prime Minister recently launched two initiatives in Bergen that will provide greater knowledge about our oceans.

The country’s PM Erna Solberg begun her day at the opening of the city’s new Big Blue visitor centre.

The centre has been established by fish farming giant Lerøy, together with the Norwegian Museum of Fisheries, and will offer an all-digital exhibition about Norway’s aquaculture industry.

The Big Blue centre will help to educate school students, tourists and locals about the industry. It will have its own teaching laboratory, allowing it to run an interdisciplinary teaching programme for school classes. Here, students will get to be aquaculture researchers for a day.

At the opening, Solberg practised dissecting a fish together with a group of high school students. The PM said: “Teaching children and young people what we live on is important.”

“We live off the coast and the aquaculture industry is an important part of this, and an industry for the future.”

PM Erna Solberg dissected a fish during her tour of Bergen's new Big Blue visitor centre last week. Photo © Silje Katrine Robinson

Greater Bergen’s seafood industry

It is not surprising that Lerøy chose to locate its Big Blue centre in the Greater Bergen, also known as the “ocean capital” of Norway.

Altogether, around 750 companies are operating in Greater Bergen’s seafood industry, employing roughly 20,000 skilled workers.

The region is home to some of the world’s largest salmon producers, including Mowi and Lerøy. It also includes many innovative smaller aquaculture companies, that are working on new technologies to improve the sector.

This blue ecosystem is coordinated by the NCE Seafood Innovation Cluster organization, which is based at Marineholmen in Bergen.

University of Bergen student Thea Båtevik and Rector Dag Rune Olsen meeting Norway’s Prime Minister Erna Solberg at the One Ocean launch on board tall ship Statsraad Lehmkuhl. Photo © Eivind Senneset, University of Bergen.

Launching the One Ocean initiative

In the afternoon, the Prime Minister also attended the launch of the One Ocean initiative.

The launch event took place onboard one of Bergen’s most familiar landmarks – the Statsraad Lehmkuhl tall ship.

In 2021, this stately vessel will be embarking on an exciting new round‑the‑world trip to spread knowledge about the vital importance of our oceans.  

The ship will be transformed into a state-of-the-art laboratory, where students and staff from the University of Bergen and other institutions can conduct marine research. Special courses will educate the ocean leaders of the future.

All in all, the Statsraad Lehmkuhl will sail roughly 55,000 nautical miles and visit 36 different harbours around the world. It will visit major ports such as Lisbon, New York, Shanghai and Tokyo.

Speaking on the deck of the vessel, Solberg said: “One Ocean brings together researchers, students, business leaders, authorities and civil society in a joint ocean effort.”

“Sharing knowledge from the expedition will make the participants dedicated ambassadors for a clean and productive future ocean,” the PM continued. “You all contribute with knowledge to reach UN Sustainable Development Goal 14, Life below water.”

The University of Bergen’s Rector, Dag Rune Olsen, also spoke at the event. He noted that the university has gathered some of the world’s foremost marine research and education institutions to take part in the initiative.

This includes many research organizations in Bergen including the Western Norway University of Applied Sciences, the Royal Norwegian Naval Academy, the Institute of Marine Research, the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research and NORCE.

“On behalf of all the participating higher education institutions, I want to say that we are proud to partake in the One Ocean expedition,” added Olsen. “We’re proud to educate marine leaders who can change the world.”

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