Prime Minister Erna Solberg officially launched Norway’s new marine research vessel, the Dr Fridtjof Nansen, in Oslo over the weekend amidst claims it will be used to share knowledge, competence and technology among oceanographers and fishing officials in developing countries.
After spending the weekend in Oslo, where it was open to visitors, the vessel was sailing to southern climes and waters off Africa, where it will help local countries improve their fisheries management. The vessel is owned by Norwegian foreign aid agency NORAD and was built as part of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization.
It’s part of a Norwegian government effort to strengthen sustainable development and use of the seas. That includes value creation, ridding the seas of marine garbage and microplast, and intensifying efforts against illegal fishing and maritime crime.
Solberg noted that a large portion of the Norwegian economy is and always has been tied to the seas, through its huge fishing, shipping and offshore oil and gas industries. What’s most important now, Solberg said, is to further Norway’s interests at sea and sustainable use of marine resources. That, added Foreign Minister Børge Brende, relies on international cooperation.
Brende said Norway was establishing a new aid program, funded with NOK 100 million (USD 12 million) to help fight maritime littering, especially of plastics that are hazardous to fish and sea mammals. Vidar Helgesen, minister of the environment, vowed to contribute to getting the seas “on more agendas,” with Norway taking on a key role as an advocate of “clean and healthy seas.”