MOSCOW, September 12 (RIA Novosti) - There is hope that import of Norwegian fish by Russia will resume, the head of the Norwegian Barents Secretariat told RIA Novosti on Friday, adding that it is worth concentrating on tourism while sanctions are still on the table.
"I hope the import [from Norway] to Russia will be resumed, as 90 percent of Russia's salmon demand was from Norway," Rafaelsen told RIA Novosti.
"Of course, sanctions are harmful for Norwegian fisheries. Russia is the key partner for companies selling herring, tuna and salmon, and now they have to look for new partners and markets. There were plans and projects, hopes for cooperation in fishery in the northern regions of Norway and Russia," the secretariat chief added.
Nevertheless, Rafaelsen is positive about the future of Russia-Norway cooperation and said there is still space for working together. "I think, now, when there is no further cooperation in fisheries, we can focus on tourism and increasing cross-border population movements. The situation in Ukraine is not conducive, but we shouldn't give up. We need to keep on working."
The Barents Cooperation was formally established in 1993. Its main aim is to strengthen infrastructure, establish people-to-people contacts and thereby contribute to the economic, cultural and social development of the Barents region.
The Norwegian Barents Secretariat is focused at developing the Norwegian-Russian relations in the north by promoting and funding Norwegian-Russian cooperation projects on behalf of the Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Rafaelsen's is leaving his position as the secretariat's head in fall of 2014 after 12 years at the helm. He plans to continue working in the secretariat as its senior advisor. Moreover, in 2015 he plans to run for mayor of Kirkenes.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.