It’s no surprise then that Japan is one of Norway’s major export markets for seafood.
|Norwegian Ambassador to Japan Arne Walther (left) is joined by Vidar Ulriksen, state secretary of the Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, and Hans-Petter Næs, head of the Japan offi ce of the Norwegian Seafood Export Council, to promote capelin in Tokyo.
“What we are particularly proud of with our relationship with Japan is that Norwegian salmon has been accepted and acknowledged in the Japanese sushi tradition,” boasts Terje E. Martinussen, managing director of the Norwegian Seafood Export Council.
“Even though the share of the total salmon sales for sushi is relatively small, the usage of salmon
in sushi is proof of high quality and increases the quality image for salmon,” he continues.
“The fact that the young generations in Japan have a strong preference for salmon and tuna when
eating sushi is an indication of the future opportunities in this market,” he highlights.
Based in Tromsø, the NSEC employs representatives around the world, including Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Brazil, China, Singapore and Japan. It oversees seafood exports to around 150 countries.
“We have offices in 11 countries including Japan. Japan has always been one of our most important
markets. We know Japan is very quality-oriented. If we can deliver seafood to Japan, then we know
we have the quality standards that should be appropriate for most countries as well,” says Martinussen.
Major species exported to Japan include salmon, mackerel and capelin, which until last year was
under a fishing ban due to falling levels of stock in the Barents Sea.
“In 2009, we had an event in Japan to reintroduce shishamo (capelin) to the Japanese market,”
Apart from promoting Norwegian seafood to its export markets, NSEC conducts market information, market access and information and crisis communication.
“We believe that Norway has a lot of qualities in addition to the product. We have invested a lot of
money in research and this in turn has been incorporated into public policy, especially on sustainable fisheries management,” says Martinussen.
“We have a very positive reputation in Japan and hopefully the position of the seafood of Norway
will be even stronger in the years to come,” he adds.