The Nordic countries are an important supplier of various flatfish species to markets in Europe, US and Asia. These species include for example European plaice, American Plaice, dab, witch, lemon sole, common sole, halibut, Greenland halibut, megrim, turbot/brill and more. These are all valuable and nutritious species; and the final products are highly sought after at demanding markets. There are however significant challenges that the Nordic flatfish sector is facing. The supply is subjected to severe fluctuations and seasonality, and each supplier has very little share of the total supply. The processing, including filleting and other value adding, is largely done outside of the Nordic countries, for example in UK, Netherlands, Germany and Poland. This has resulted in relatively small part of the final product value being paid to the Nordic fishermen.

One of the challenges the Nordic flatfish sector is facing is the lack of transparency within the flatfish value chains, with regards to where processing takes place, what is produced, where do the products go, where is the added value taking place etc. There might potentially be hidden opportunities for the Nordic sector to generate more value from the flatfish resources, if a better overview of the value chains is provided and if the sector gets together in solving some of the common challenges.

The Nordic Flatfish project was initiated to address this, by analysing some key Nordic Flatfish value chains, with the purpose of increasing transparency within the sector, identify opportunities and facilitate networking. The hope is that this work will lead to increased cooperation between stakeholders in Nordic flatfish value chains, contribute to increased competitiveness and potentially a common strategic planning by Nordic authorities and/or industry.

The Nordic Flatfish project is funded by AG-fisk of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The project partners include research and industry representatives from four Nordic countries (Iceland, Denmark, Greenland and Norway), as well as from three countries (Netherland, UK and France) that are important stakeholders in the Nordic flatfish value chains.

The Nordic Flatfish project has three major deliverables:

  1. Facilitation of a workshop on the Nordic Flatfish sector. This workshop is to be held in Copenhagen 29-30 October 2019. Main results will be published on the project webpage. See programme.
  2. Publication of a TemaNord report on the Nordic Flatfish sector, providing information on the value chains and identifying if/where improvements can be made.
  3. Publication of a scientific paper in a peer reviewed journal on the main outcomes of the project.

The partners in the project are:

• Matís ohf. – Jónas R. Viðarsson (Iceland) project coordinator jonas@matis.is

• DTU Aqua – Erling Larsen (Denmark)

• University of Copenhagen / IFRO – Max Nilsen (Denmark)

• Nofima – John Isaksen (Norway)

• Framian – Pavel Salz (Netherland)

• Fisheries Iceland (SFS) – Viðar Engilbertsson (Iceland)

• Danmarks Fiskeriforening – Henrik Lund (Denmark)

• Humber Seafood Institute/Grimsby Fish Merchants Association – Simon Dwyer (UK)

• Atlantic Fresh Europe – Örn Eyfjörð (France)

• KNAPK – Tønnes Berthelsen (Greenland)