“TAKE ACTION TODAY – FOR A DIFFERENCE TOMORROW”
No country in the world can match Norway’s coast in terms of food production. Few nations can boast such a rich coastal culture, where the seafood industry has played such a central role throughout history in providing for vigorous local communities along the coast. With the global population approaching 9 billion (by 2050), it seems perfectly natural for the increased demand for food production to be satisfied by significant growth in fish farming.
For Lerøy Seafood Group, maintaining a focus on the entire concept of sustainability – a concept that encompasses not only the environment, but also social and economic factors – is essential. Our industry plays a significant role within society, and Lerøy Seafood Group in Norway aims to take its social responsibility very seriously, and to ensure that the social benefits provided by our activities are safeguarded by maintaining robust and profitable businesses, and by means of ripple effects within local communities and stronger environmental management within fisheries and fish farming.
Wild Catch and Whitefish
Our operations within fisheries are based on fish as a natural resource. We therefore rely on proper management of the various species in the sea. Limitations on the harvest volumes of individual fishstocks come from Mother Nature herself. Information on fishing volumes (catch statistics), monitoring of fish stocks and estimates provided by researchers from numerous countries all form the basis for the fishing quotas established. Research and advice from the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen and the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) shall help ensure that future generations are able to harvest the major assets in the sea and along the coast. One of the vessels owned by our subsidiary Havfisk is part of the Institute of Marine Research's reference fleet. As such, we play a part in collecting a significant amount of biological data utilised in the research into fish stocks.
Norway enters into negotiations with other countries when total fishing quotas are to be established. The final decisions regarding the total quotas for fishing different species are taken based on stock assessments and advice on quotas from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). More than 90% of the fish resources harvested by Norway are managed in cooperation with other countries. The national quotas in Norway are discussed by the various stakeholders during regulation meetings, for which the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries is responsible. These regulation meetings are held twice a year. Subsequent to the discussions at these meetings, the Directorate of Fisheries issues a proposal for regulation of fisheries to the Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries. The Ministry issues provisions regarding the distribution of quotas to Norwegian fishing vessels and provisions regarding fisheries in the form of annual regulations for each species of fish.
Our operations are based on public permits for the harvesting of Norwegian fish resources. The entitlement provided by these permits entails statutory obligations in terms of activity and delivery, as well as a responsibility to fish sustainably. It is our aim to be a “proud custodian”, and we have taken an active approach to ensuring full compliance with all regulations involving fisheries.
We manage our natural resources on behalf of society as a whole, and therefore accept a particular responsibility for ensuring sustainable operations, leaving behind the smallest possible environmental footprint.
The Group monitors all employees and management to ensure compliance with prevailing regulations and quota provisions. The Group has also cooperated with authorities, trade associations and non-governmental organisations to help counteract illegal fishing, thereby safeguarding resources for future generations. Norwegian North-East Arctic cod, haddock and saithe fisheries gained Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification in 2010, followed by MSC certification for shrimp fisheries in 2012. These certificates substantiate the sustainability of Norwegian fisheries for these species. The cod, haddock and saithe fisheries were awarded a new five-year certificate in 2015. Our fisheries operations mainly comprise MSC-certified cod, haddock and saithe, in addition to shrimp.
In 2016, Havfisk and the other parties involved in the Norwegian trawling industry entered into the Arktisavtalen (Industry Group Agreement on cod fisheries in the northern part of the North-East Atlantic). As a result of the melting of the ice sheet around the North Pole and so-called new areas becoming accessible, a map has been prepared showing those regions traditionally fished. The parties to the agreement have committed to not fishing in waters north of these areas until the seabed has been charted and it has been established that fishing will not cause permanent damage to vulnerable benthic biotopes. This project continued in 2018, and a dialogue has been established with Norwegian authorities aimed at establishing public regulations in the area to replace the agreement between private actors.
There are 19 areas under Norwegian administration that are protected against bottom trawling. These are mainly found along the coastline and have been established to protect coral and other benthic organisms. Farther north, there is a total prohibition on fishing in an area extending to 12 nautical miles around all the islands surrounding Svalbard. Combined with a more comprehensive nature reserve where fishing is prohibited and a general prohibition on fishing in waters that are shallower than 100 metres around Svalbard, the protected area covers 70,000 square kilometres.
The minimum water depth of 100 metres protects food sources for animals that live on shore and birds that dive for food close to the coast.
A number of other regulatory measures also apply, including a prohibition on fishing deeper than 1000 metres to protect potentially vulnerable benthic biotopes in these areas.
Main goal: Eco-friendly and profitable operations supplying healthy food from sustainable stocks in the cleanest sea waters in the world.
In general, Havfisk has renewed its fleet by rebuilding/modernising some of its older trawlers and selling others. Three new trawlers were delivered from 2013 to 2014. An additional new vessel was delivered on 5 January 2018. The fleet has generally been upgraded by older trawlers being remodeled / modernized and some sold. The new vessels are equipped with modern technology for more environmentally friendly operation. Several vessels in the existing fleet have been upgraded with more eco-friendly solutions. Other vessels have been rebuilt as combi-vessels that can deliver both frozen and fresh fish all year round. This boosts flexibility and reduces fuel consumption when compared with vessels that only deliver fresh fish. Today Havfisk has 9 trawlers in the fleet.
In 2016, Havfisk received a number of subsidies from the NOx fund for investment in equipment that saves on energy compared with current solutions, for example LED lights, variable frequency-controlled compressors, more energy-efficient pumps etc.
Lost fishing gear left on the seabed spoils the sea and destroys seafood caught in it. Ever since the early 1980s, the Directorate of Fisheries has carried out annual clean-ups along the Norwegian coast line, to remove fishing gears from the bottom. An important measure to avoid fish and shellfish being caught - "ghost fishing" as it is called.
Fortunately, it is not often that Havfisk loses its fishing gear, but it has happened. Havfisk, through regulations, is then required to report lost gear to the Coast Guard Center. The reporting has in recent years been further simplified through functions in electronic catch logbook. Havfisk will continue to spend time searching for lost fishing gears, should such a loss occur, and at most of the cases we succeed in regaining lost fishing gear. Searching for lost fishing gear is also a part of the company's action plan to reduce plastic in the sea.
R&D PROJECT – SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
Havfisk is an industrial partner in an international, interdisciplinary research cooperation project involving the effect of climate change on the marine eco-system – GreenMar. The cooperation comprises research groups within ecology, climate and marine resources. The aim of the project is to increase know-how that will contribute to “green growth” via sustainable administration and utilisation of our marine areas.
In 2016, Havfisk provided information to students at NTNU who were writing a term paper for the “Green Value Creation and Ethical Perspectives” course. By taking part in such projects, we are able to contribute to education and research, while pursuing our goal to expand our own knowledge within this area. Havfisk has ongoing R&D projects relating to increased total utilisation of raw materials. The main aim of these projects is to increase utilisation of resources and boost value creation. Havfisk is also participating in the “E-sushi” project, led by the research organisation SINTEF, together with other enterprises in the fisheries industry. The goal of this project is to gather comprehensive data, so-called big data (large volumes of empirical data), on numerous levels, to gain a better understanding of factors that impact on fisheries. This will allow for better prognoses and information for sustainable management and efficient fisheries.
PLASTIC AND OTHER TRASH IN THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT
During the past year, plastic seeding of the ocean has gained significantly increased attention. Havfisk relies on the fact that consumers perceive food from the oceans as clean and safe. It is therefore important to give priority to preventing plastic seepage from the seas. Havfisk helps to reduce plastic in the ocean by making sure that no waste on board is released into the ocean. Waste is sorted and burned in a suitable furnace on board, or landed and delivered to approved waste stations. Havfisk participates in the project "Fishing for litter" with all vessels and has thus helped to bring tens of tons of old plastic waste caught on the seabed.
“FISHING FOR LITTER”
Our sea waters and coast are increasingly littered with vast volumes of man-made waste. Pieces of plastic, rubber and other non-degradable materials may remain in the environment for hundreds of years, causing harm to animals and humans. Havfisk’s fleet is involved in the “Fishing for litter” project, a voluntary environmental project to clear up marine waste from the sea, led by the Norwegian Environment Agency. The aim is to send as much of this waste as possible for recycling, by facilitating sorting, registration and recycling of all waste collected.
All waste from land-based processing plants is also taken care of by approved drainage facilities. The waste is sorted into different fractions and collected from the processing plants. We have also arranged for fishermen to be able to deliver waste when they are delivering fish to our plants, We use washable boxes for transportation between our own facilities and also for some of our customers.
Our long sheltered coastline, with well-suited sea areas and good water replacement, is the basis for Norway's unique advantage in terms of food production in the sea. These basic prerequisites and advantages strongly contribute to Norwegian aquaculture operators being able to ensure sustainable seafood production in Norway.
Trough industrial development, increased processing, more safe and profitable jobs in coastal districts, and large ripple effects locally and nationally the aquaculture industry contributes to positive growth in a number of coastal communities in Norway.
The Norwegian aquaculture industry represents one of the most sustainable protein productions we can find in the world today due to high efficient protein utilization, low CO2 emissions and low consumption of fresh water. In addition to this the production is almost antibiotic free. Through sustainable aquaculture and the production of healthy seafood, the Norwegian Aquaculture industry and the Norwegian seafood industry will be an important contribution to achieving the UN's sustainability goals.
Lerøy Seafood Group is aware of its role as a significant aquaculture player in Norway, and want through its own development processes and in cooperation with trade organizations and authorities to contribute to the aquaculture industry strengthening its focus on its sustainability indicators. This applies both to social and economical sustainability as well to environmental sustainability.
ENVIRONMENTAL AND SAFETY GROUP
The purpose of the Environmental and Safety Group is to help the companies identify areas for improvement, suggest measures and provide assistance in applying new knowledge or technology to minimise the risk of accidental release or serious incidents. The Group shall provide competencies and exchange of experience and shall also act as Lerøy Seafood Group’s resource team/internal audit function in the event of serious incidents at sea.
In 2016, the Environmental and Safety Group implemented the “Lerøy standard”, comprising requirements relating to purchase of critical equipment for maritime-based operations, and at the same time standardised working operations that – together with the requirements on equipment – are of decisive importance for safety at the farming facilities.
Throughout 2018, this work has been incorporated into the farming companies’ routines and procedures.
Prevention of accidental release of fish is an extremely important and high-priority area for Lerøy Seafood Group, and we can now see that the initiatives taken by the Group in this area are producing results.
The Group invests a considerable amount of work in optimising equipment and routines specifically to avoid accidental release of fish. Incidents that may result in accidental release – so-called “near-accidents” – are reported to the fisheries authorities, as are any suspicions of accidental release. Securing against accidental release is a question of maintaining a focus on execution/action, good planning of all operations in order to ensure safe execution and efficient nonconformance management and re-examination.
Key elements are: ATTITUDE, ACTION and RESPONSIBILITY. However, these have no impact if not clearly defined by management. Moreover, it is essential that all employees are made aware of their responsibility to ensure zero accidental release of fish within our company.
The Environmental and Safety Group plays an important role in this work and, in addition to internal processes, is also responsible for quality assurance and auditing of our suppliers in their role as supplier from an environmental perspective, an area in which prevention of accidental release is central.
In 2018, Lerøy accidentally released 115 fish.
Throughout 2018, the Environmental and Safety Group has evaluated the potential for electrification of LSG's farming operations. The result of these evaluations is the goal to implement electrification of all feed barges in the Group by 2020 in areas where it is possible to establish shore power for barge operations. The remaining barges will be fitted with battery packs for hybrid systems, providing electrical operation of the equipment at certain parts of the day.
Fish health and fish welfare are at the core of our operations as a producer of Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout. As such, we have both ethical and statutory obligations governed by Norwegian legislation. A healthy fish is also a good fish for production and a prerequisite for good financial results. There are therefore numerous incentives for putting fish health and fish welfare at the top of the agenda for fish farming operations. In an effort to ensure that we continuously fulfil these obligations, the Group has chosen to allocate substantial resources to preventive measures for fish health, and this is now a major part of the production strategy for the entire Group.
At the end of 2018, the companies in the Lerøy Seafood Group had 23 employees who are fish health biologists/veterinaries, and also purchases external fish health services.
The efforts to solve fish health challenges require a multidisciplinary approach involving a number of fields that combine to ensure that the correct and necessary preventive action is taken. The interaction between factors such as technology, the environment, fish disease, nutrition and production biology is part of the whole and forms the basis for how we as a Group work with preventive fish health.
The work to prevent salmon lice and develop successful methods for non-medicinal delousing are central elements in our work on fish health. Salmon lice still represent one of the major biological obstacles to further development of the fish farming industry, and operations involving management and control of salmon lice represent a substantial cost-driver and have implications for fish health and welfare. The Group's salmon lice strategy is sound and shall provide control by means of perpetually effective measures, a focus on individual cages at the highest aggregate level and early intervention in situations where the preventive efforts are not sufficiently effective.
Prevent infection regionally:
Since 2011, Lerøy Seafood Group has chosen to regionalise the value chain for its own fish farming production, from release of roe to slaughter, in order to prevent undesired infection by known and unknown agents. As a result, the Group no longer moves live fish by sea between its three fish farming regions: West Norway, Central Norway and North Norway. This implies major costs for Lerøy in developing regional capacity and biosafety. We are confident that other companies in the industry will recognise the value of implementing similar internal regulations and are sorry to see that the Norwegian authorities are not actively supporting this type of operational measure to prevent the spread of disease.
The use of cleaner fish is one of our most important preventive tools for ensuring low levels of salmon lice at our plants. Cleaner fish are Mother Nature's own way of removing salmon lice on fish. Lerøy has therefore decided to build up substantial capacity for own cleaner fish production and has made major investments in recent years to achieve self-sufficient supply. In principle, production to date has centred around lumpfish and Lerøy reported a total release of approx. 10 million lumpfish in 2018. The Group also makes use of vast numbers of wrasse species caught in the wild and purchased from local fishermen. LSG has concerted efforts to ensure good fish health and welfare for cleaner fish in the production and has chosen to allocate fish health resources dedicated to ensure optimal fish health and welfare for these fish. In 2017, LSG decided to allocate resources to the development of production methods for farming ballan wrasse. We expect to release our first farmed ballan wrasse specimens to our facilities in 2019.
RAS / POST-SMOLT
Lerøy has invested heavily in the production of juvenile fish in our three farming regions. In 2013, we opened the Belsvik juvenile fish plant in Central Norway, which remains one of the world’s largest and most modern facilities for juvenile fish, with a capacity of approximately 14 million smolt. In 2016, we opened the “new” Laksefjord facility in North Norway with an RAS department for both fresh water and sea water production. This represented an increase in production capacity from 7 to 11 million smolt per year. In 2017, work started on a new RAS facility for post-smolt production in Kjærelva in Hordaland, and the first post-smolt from this facility will be delivered in the spring of 2019. Several major development projects for post-smolt are under planning at LSG in West, Central and North Norway, and the Group has accumulated substantial knowledge of this field over recent years.
R&D, technology and biology projects
Lerøy continuously implements large and smaller R&D projects focusing on:
Improvements to operating routines, improved fish welfare and higher survival rates in addition to optimising production. These are important projects that have a direct impact on daily production, and where the project results and improvements are implemented rapidly. Technological developments and new methods combining technology and biology in interaction are important driving forces for optimising operations.
Lerøy also plays an active part in a number of external and internal R&D programmes and projects. We would like in particular to mention the following:
Several major research programmes target the fresh water phase.
Lerøy actively contributes to a number of projects financed by the FHF, both in the project steering groups and reference groups. The Chairman of the Board for the FHF is an employee of Lerøy. We also have a representative on FHF's specialist group.
VAP, Sales and Distribution
All our downstream companies work towards the same sustainability goals, but within their own business. All companies participate in competency groups, where priority areas are identified.
In 2018, we worked on:
In Sales & Distribution we have especially focused on increased processing closed to production in sea, by-products and packaging.
From the grocery segment in particular, we are constantly challenged on the use of packaging. There is a degree of filling (ie the amount of packaging per kilo), type of packaging (type of plastic with regard to recycling rate and degradation, aluminum vs plastic vs cardboard, etc.) and the effect of different packaging on durability and food waste.