THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Norway has offered its assistance to Kerala in forming a maritime cluster and implementing new projects in the state in the field of fisheries and aquaculture, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan's office said on Wednesday.
Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Policy Bjørnar Selnes Skjæran said that his country will cooperate with Kerala in relation to maritime cluster, fisheries and aquaculture, a statement issued by the Chief Minister's Office (CMO) said.
The Norwegian minister offered the assistance of his country in a meeting held with a high-level delegation led by Vijayan and his cabinet colleagues- Industries Minister P Rajeeve and Fisheries Minister V Abdurahiman, the statement said.
In the meeting, the Kerala CM told Skjæran about the qualitative changes that were brought about in the fishing sector of the state, thanks to a Norwegian project that was started in 1953 at Neendakara in Kollam district and later shifted to Ernakulam in 1961, it said.
As part of the project, an ice plant and a workshop with a slipway for fishing vessels were set up and as a result, Kerala moved ahead rapidly in the field of mechanized fishing and the marine fish production also increased year by year, the statement quoted the CM as having said at the meeting.
The CM also noted that Kerala has been at the first position in the country in sea fish production for decades, it said.
In response to Vijayan's words, the Norwegian minister said Kerala is an important factor in India-Norway cooperation, according to the CMO statement.
It also quoted him as having said, in the meeting, that "an important part of our collaboration is the construction of ships at Cochin Shipyard".
He is also quoted as having said that Norway was ready to develop the cooperation with Kerala and take it further.
At the meeting, Rajeeve underlined the importance of maritime cluster and the need for technical cooperation in the sector, while Abdurahiman spoke about the importance of furthering the cooperation between Kerala and Norway in the field of marine aquaculture, the statement said.
The visit to Norway is part of the Europe trip, which would also cover England and Wales, and is envisaged to woo more investments to the state, to visit IT companies, meet stakeholders in Ayurveda and tourism sectors and also to understand the education models in those countries.
The trip is scheduled to be wrapped up by October 12.