Norway will cooperate with Kerala in the areas of fishing, mariculture and maritime cluster, Norwegian Fisheries and Ocean Policy Minister Bjornar Selnes Skjaeran said on Wednesday following his discussions with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.
Mr. Vijayan, who is in Norway on an official tour with a delegation from Kerala, recollected the Kerala-Norway connection since the time of the Indo-Norwegian project at Neendakara in 1953, aimed at the modernisation of the fisheries sector in the State.
Mr. Vijayan recalled the positive changes that were ushered in Kerala’s fisheries sector following the Indo-Norwegian project. It was in 1952 that under the aegis of the United Nations that India and Norway signed a tripartite agreement for the development of the fisheries sector as well as the quality of life of the fishermen community.
The project which was started at Neendakara in 1953 was shifted to Ernakulam in 1961. An ice plant and a workshop with a slipway for the fishing boats were established in Ernakulam. It was the Indo-Norwegian project which helped the growth of mechanised fishing and the seafood industry in Kerala. For decades, Kerala has thus been ahead of all other States as far as seafood production is concerned, Mr. Vijayan said.
Areas of interest
The Cochin Shipyard had recently constructed two electric barges for Norway. The Norwegian Fisheries Minister said that ship building at the Cochin Shipyard was a major area of cooperation for Norway and that he would be interested in strengthening the cooperation in this sector
The State government is also considering the setting up of a maritime cluster centred in Kochi, the importance of which was explained by Industries Minister P. Rajeeve.
Apart from fisheries and maritime culture, aquaculture is another area where Norway can cooperate with Kerala, the Norwegian Minister said. Norway’s commercial aquaculture industry has been very progressive and sustainable and the Fisheries University in Kerala will take up the technical discussions with Norway in this regard, the Kerala Minister for Fisheries V. Abdurahman said.
The State’s delegation included vice chairperson of the State Planning Board V. K. Ramachandran, Chief Secretary V.P. Joy, Kerala Government’s Officer on Special Duty in New Delhi Venu Rajamani, and Principal Secretary (Fisheries and Tourism) K. S. Srinivas.