In a Cabinet “reshuffle” in October, the Prime Minister of Norway, Jonas Gahr Støre, appointed the position of Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy to Cecilie Myrseth, who will take over from Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran, the minister since 2021. The news was met with optimism by industry representatives.
One of the most important government posts in the resource-dependent kingdom, the Fisheries and Ocean Policy Minister has responsibility for a wide range of activities including fisheries, aquaculture, maritime policy, coastal development, shipping, and R&D.
Many factors make it a politically challenging one, including debates over wealth and income distribution across geographic regions and demographic classes, green policies, fishery sustainability, input costs, and seafood prices and markets.
Ms. Myrseth has been the MP for Troms and spokesperson for fisheries in the Labour Party, where she has long been involved with issues such as the negotiation of fisheries quotas. A new quota report has been recently announced by the government, so she will be jumping right into a sometimes hotly debated policy question.
Praising the appointment, the Labour Party says that the quota report must deliver on what has long been the party’s priority, namely predictability and stability in the regulatory framework. Despite difficulties with the previous quota report, a broad-based fisheries policy has been a success. A Labour Party official said that unifying fisheries policy has been a success, with the industry transitioning from a subsidised sector to a profitable and sustainable one.
Support for the appointment also came from industry, with optimism for continued good dialogue between the industry and the political leadership in the Ministry regarding the work on the new quota report. The new Minister is not new to the industry, where she has worked for several years, a familiarity that will prove important in addressing the coming challenges.