Multi-million investment in Swedish seafood
Seafood is the future. It’s both nutritious and an industry that has enormous growth potential. The new initiative Blue Food – Center for future seafood will make Sweden a leading producer of sustainable seafood.
“The world population is expected to increase to almost ten billion in thirty years. All these people need food - and not just any food, but good and nutritious food. A shift towards more blue food will reduce competition for arable land and freshwater,” says Kristina Snuttan Sundell, professor at the Department of Biology and Environmental Science at the University of Gothenburg. The university will be the chair organisation for the new centre.
This is the largest investment in seafood in Sweden with a funding of 48 million SEK from the government research council for sustainable development Formas. The vision is for the industry to grow ten times larger than today and for the proportion of Swedish-produced seafood to double.
“Today we import 72 percent of all seafood eaten in Sweden. When it comes to farmed fish, that number is 90 percent. This is not sustainable. We must take responsibility and increase Sweden's capacity. This will also lead to increased local production and more jobs in coastal and rural communities.”
The expansion will be possible through research to create better conditions for the cultivation of fish, shellfish, algae, and other edible species, and by making better use of underutilized species and wild-caught fish.
The centre is a national collaboration between research and innovation actors, regions, municipalities, organisations, and forty companies from all over Sweden.
“The time is right for this kind of investment. The collaboration within Kristineberg Center made it possible for us to come together and take advantage of the great interest that exists in both the public and business sector,” says Fredrik Gröndahl, associate professor at the Department of Sustainable Development Environmental Science and Engineering at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, the main applicant with a leading role in the centre.
The climate-smart food of the future
The initiative will also increase consumers' possibility to choose healthy and Swedish-produced seafood.
“We see a trend where people choose to eat more sustainable. Eating more plant-based foods is good, but the pace of innovation needs to increase and more consumers need to know that seafood is also a sustainable, healthy and protein-rich choice that is good for both the planet and the body,” says Anders Högberg, research and strategic partnership manager at Orkla”
The Blue Food initiative coincides with the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which promotes sustainable production of seafood as a way to increase food production in the world without using additional arable land, water, or fertilizer. The investment in Swedish aquaculture is a step in that direction.
“I am very happy that we have been able to carry out this call within the national food program. A good food supply is a matter for the whole society, as is climate-smart food production, says Forma's Director-General Ingrid Peterson in a press release.
Partners in the centre are KTH Royal Institute of Technology, University of Gothenburg, Chalmers University of Technology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, RISE Research Institutes of Sweden, Uppsala University, IVL Swedish Environmental Institute, Innovatum Science Park, Orkla, Region Västra Götaland, Region Stockholm and more.