(The spoken version shall take precedence)
Ladies and gentlemen,
This year, Japan and Sweden celebrate 150 years of diplomatic relations. We have been friends for a long time – and so have my family and the Imperial family of Japan. Earlier this year, that friendship was renewed when my father and mother, the King and Queen of Sweden, visited Japan.
Our countries differ from each other in many ways. However, we also share some fundamental values. And one of them, I believe, is something that unites all of us in this room, regardless of nationality: the love for nature and the gratitude for all it provides us with.
The companies that you represent have produced beautiful and valuable products from the sea for decades. Some for more than a century.
Today, there is a growing awareness of the critical role your industry plays in ensuring access to high-quality, nutritious food. This was especially clear at this year’s AquaVision conference in Norway, to which Mr. Knut Nesse was very kind to invite me. Thank you, Knut!
In the end, it is a simple equation: For a healthy world, we need a healthy – and sustainable – seafood industry.
When I first met this community, in 2016 in the Maldives, there were eight of you. Five companies were represented at the CEO level. Today, you are 12 companies in the room, 10 SeaBOS members, and 10 presidents and CEOs.
When we started this conversation in 2016, we focused on the problems. Today and tomorrow will be about solutions; about real and transformative change.
The last time I was in Tokyo I had the privilege of meeting some of you – and to be there when Kyokuyo took the step and joined SeaBOS. That time, I brought with me a small pine seedling. And I spoke about the fragility of early beginnings. Today, I see a brave little tree, nice and green, growing stronger and stronger.
In only two years, you have achieved a lot. The conversations that you are having are already influencing a much wider conversation about the need for ocean stewardship and sustainability in seafood production. You are setting new standards for the global seafood industry. You are, indeed, leaders - in the true sense of the word.
Let there be no doubt: there is still a lot of work to do. Therefore, I am very excited about the community you are building with SeaBOS and the values you are creating.
I look forward to seeing the collaboration within SeaBOS grow even stronger. To welcoming new members into this community. To making new commitments and celebrating new achievements.
Ladies and gentlemen: I expect great things from you. In the next two days – and in the years to come! So that we can continue building our shared values, and you can continue providing future generations with healthy food.