An ocean of possibilities

Research, development and cooperation were key words at the ocean conference in Bergen September 22.

Havbyen Bergen

Video: University of Bergen

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The ocean conference, held in Grieghallen, had three main categories; how to create a sustainable future for the ocean when it comes to transportation, food, and energy. The importance of innovative thinking, working together to reach shared goals, and to let research and knowledge underlie decisions in politics and business strategies, were some of the key points made throughout the day.

New possibilities

Professor Rolf Birger Pedersen at the University of Bergen said that the ocean has developed for billions of years, and that new technology has made it possible to explore its depthts in ways previously impossible; pointing to research done in the deep sea by researchers at the University of Bergen.

He said that the ocean is full of resources, that can be understood better through recent research. Pedersen underlined the importance of working together across branches of knowledge to ensure a sustainable future, also in the development of marine research. 

Fact oriented

At the conference, there were strong focus on the importance of research to create sustainable solutions.

"We have to base our activities on facts, not emotions", Frederic Hauge, the leader of environmental NGO Bellona said.

WWF-leader Nina Jensen said there is need for a global zero-vision for ocean pollution, pointing to the eight million tons of plastic waste that ends up in the world oceans every year. 

According to director of the Institute of Marine Research in Bergen, Sissel Rogne, two thirds of plastic waste is transported to the ocean by 20 of the largest rivers in the world. She also referred to reseach showing that the volume of plastic in the oceans can surpass the volume of fish in the year 2050, if solutions to reduce plastic pollution are not found.

Multiple business companies were also present, discussing a range of environment-friendly solutions and business strategies.

A new era

The leader of the political party "Arbeiderpartiet" Jonas Gahr Støre said we are on the verge of a new era for the ocean, that will create many new possibilities for Norwegian companies.

He pointed to the importance of ensuring that the growth of Norwegian fish farming takes place in a sustainable way, and also Norway's opportunity to be a world leader in the development of atonomous ships. Støre also underlined the importance of finding answers to marine pollution-problems.

UiB-rector Dag Rune Olsen led a debate with, amongst others, the Norwegian minister of trade and industry, Monica Mæland.

The minister was clear that Bergen deserves the title "the ocean city", being in the forefront of several important areas in research and business.