On common ground for sustainability

Japanese aquaculture students meet Norwegian EU-minister.

They were jolly, like old acquaintances.

Elisabeth Vik Aspaker, the former Norwegian Fisheries Minister and current Norwegian Minister of EU and EEA Affairs, recently met Japanese students Kana Banno (Team Leader, 22), Kyoko Kawamura, 21,  Takaki Setoguchi, 24 and Kessaku Tanabe, 28 at Nord University.

Aspaker delivered a speech at Nord University Business School in relation to a seminar about general trade and seafood exports. The minister took the opportunity to meet the Japanese students during the lunch break.

The Japanese students from Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology (TUMSAT) visited Oslo, Steigen and Bodø, the capital of Nordland county from September 17 to October 1, 2016 as part of the Seafood Value-Chain Programme, organized by TUMSAT, CERMAQ and Nord.

First-hand experience

Nordland county is Norway's biggest seafood export region. As part of their tour, the group visited one of the offshore plants run by Cermaq Group Ltd in Steigen municipality, north of Bodø, to get a first-hand experience of the advanced aquaculture operations. Cermaq Group Ltd is a global leader in salmon farming. The group also attended a week's educational component under the theme

"Aquaculture for the billions – surely, but sustainably", conducted by professors at the Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture, Nord University.

On common ground at Nord University. From left to right, Kyoko Kawamura, Kana Banno, Kessaku Tanabe, Elisabeth Vik Aspaker and Takasi Setoguchi (photo: Per Jarl Elle, Nord University).

Kana Banno, who is a bachelor student at the Department of Ocean Sciences at TUMSAT, was an exchange student at Nord University in 2015.

- Yes, I took Aquaculture and Northern Wildlife in Spring semester. I enjoyed it so much that I applied for this two-week programme in Norway, says Banno.

Kessaku Tanabe is studying aquaculture economics at the Department of Marine Policy and Culture at TUMSAT. He thinks this joint Japanese-Norwegian programme has the right mix of theoretic and practical insights.

- Very engaging to see the practical side of offshore fish farming in Northern Norway, he says.

Kyoko Kawamura is a fourth year aquaculture student at the Department of Marine Biosciences at TUMSAT, while fellow student, Takaki Setoguchi is studying aquaponics (combined culture of plants and fish) at the Department of Ocean Sciences.

The importance of sustainable aquaculture

Professor Kiron Viswanath coordinated the programme for the visiting students at Nord.

- All the members of the faculty, who were involved in the programme, were impressed by the interest shown by the students in understanding the importance of sustainable aquaculture, says Kiron.

In 2013, Japan was included as one of the focus countries of the current Fellowship programme for Studies in the High North, funded by the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Faculty of Biosciences and Aquaculture at Nord University has until now received eight exchange students from Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology.