OLSO: Norway leading the Winter Olympics medals table, its prime minister, Erna Solberg, has taken the opportunity to strike gold for the country’s seafood industry. She has been in the South Korean capital, Seoul, first for political talks with President Moon Jae-in and then to visit Norwegian athletes at the games centre in Pyeongchang.
But she also visited the seafood stand at the event, where the special focus is on mackerel – a big favourite in South Korea. More than 90 per cent of imported mackerel in Korea comes from Norway; in 2017, the Norwegians exported close to 40,000 tonnes of the fish, worth more than 500 million kroner, to the market. Norwegian mackerel has a unique position here. Norwegian mackerel has taken an incredible market position here in recent years.
‘From being a peripheral market, Korea in a few years has become our second largest consumer market for mackerel. Seafood exports to South Korea are now worth NOK 2.4 billion, a near tenfold increase since 2008.’ A few days earlier, as part of a business promotion, Premier Solberg had been in Tokyo learning to prepare sushi, helped by Tsutomu Shimamiya, Japan’s leading sushi chef, who believes it can take up to ten years to become an expert.