Marine proteins and peptides in functional nutrition
County Governor, Mayor, dear hosts, ladies and gentlemen - Good morning!
And to those of you travelling from abroad - welcome to Norway
I love the ocean. To me, being at sea gives perspective, a sense of belonging and of context.
I believe American psychologist and philosopher William James grasped some of modernity’s most fundamental truths when he wrote; "We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep".
We are in fact nature, you and me, we as human beings. We are nature. But it doesn’t always feel that way. In our often technical and controlled lives, it is often easy to forget that we are dependent on the earth we live on. The soil and the sea that feeds us.
Our bond to nature will obviously become even more important in near future. The second sustainable development goal is Zero hunger, which means to "end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture". Our collective challenges related to an estimated population growth up to 9 billion in 2050 are considerable, and we need to find new solutions for the world’s food supply.
Global challenges defines the backdrop of this important symposium:
The climate summit in Paris last fall identified a new future. The agreement set the world course towards the low carbon society. This will also have consequences for Norway. This spring, the Norwegian government will launch a new strategy on bioeconomics – one of many aspects of the changes we are facing.
In March this year, the Norwegian Institute of Public Health presented the report "Norway: State of the Nation’s Health" based on the international Global Burden of Disease study. The Director-General at the Institute, Camilla Stoltenberg, then stated at the launch of the report: "We now see that unhealthy food emerges as the main reason for death".
Many of the solutions to solving our world’s challenges can be found in the sea. There is an enormous potential – literally outside these windows and these walls.
How can marine ingredients play a role when facing these global tasks?
We are fortunate in Norway – being Europe’s largest seafood producer, and the world’s second largest exporter of seafood products. Maybe especially here at the northwest coast of Norway –where the seafood industry always has been a central source – for the daily food, a healthy lifestyle and the whole region’s income.
The biomarine cluster Legasea’s vision is to "Empower a new billion $ industry based on bioeconomy". To become a global industrial leader in the sustainable and profitable use of marine bioresources and residual raw materials. In practice, this means creating high value products based on residuals from production on board. Today, this is an underdeveloped resource. The main marked for this effort lies in the need for healthier – some would even say intelligent – food. The purpose is to prevent global lifestyle diseases like obesity and diabetes.
Our time is a time for change. Legasea is a good example of innovative clusters that redefine global challenges into national opportunities. It also shows that close cooperation between the private sector and public institutions like hospitals and universities can lead to important and fast results.
It is no wonder that Legasea is situated right here – in Ålesund. The region is well-known for its marine affiliation and its key role for the seafood industry along the Norwegian coast. For innovation and new ideas. For the will to use all the resources and drive in the district.
(By the way: That is also one of the reasons why we have decided to organize SIKT - which is a conference for young talents and engaged young people – right here in Ålesund. We are doing it next fall, and I am looking forward to coming back in October!)
The sea contains the future of humanity – if we manage its resources wisely. The interesting program for the conference reflects this. Here are some of the world’s most influential researchers within the fields of health effects of marine proteins and peptides gathered.
For Mette and me, the need to learn more about the complexity of issues like these has increased. We therefore value opportunities like today’s gathering, when we have the chance to meet and learn from this distinguished group of professionals. Later today, we are invited on board the trawler Milnes from Nordic Wildfish – a groundbreaking vessel well suited for a bioeconomic future. Together with a visit to Epax, a leading producer of concentrated omega 3 fatty acids, we are better capable of seeing the big picture. Or – with William James’ words: to be connected in the deep.
I wish you all the best with your important work and a successful symposium!