Nofima's roots go as far back as 1931 when "Norges Hermetikklaboratorium" (the Norwegian Canning Laboratory) was established. This institute was later renamed Norconserv, and was one of the first professional institutes in Norway. The former institutes Akvaforsk, Matforsk and Fiskeriforskning also have a long history, originating from the early 1970s. These institutes have for many years been a strong contribution to value creation and developments in the aquaculture, fisheries and food industry, both in Norway and abroad.

The establishment of NOFIMA AS

In the autumn of 2003, the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs and the Ministry of Agriculture and Food initiated a review of the research institutes in their respective sectors. A newly established steering committee produced a report in 2004 on The blue-green food alliance: Joint efforts and new structure.
In Report No. 19 to the Storting (2004-2005) Marine Commercial Development - The Blue Field and in Report No. 20 to the Storting (2004-2005) Commitment to research, a proposal was made to increase cooperation between marine and agricultural research.

One of the arguments in favour of increased cooperation was that consumers and authorities alike, both nationally and internationally, pose the same requirements to food whether it is produced on land or in water. Many of the professional challenges experienced by agricultural food producers are also shared by producers of seafood.

Another reason behind the proposal was that the R&D market is becoming increasingly international, and some of the most important foreign competition had been consolidated or was merging into larger units. In addition, an increasing part of the financing for the research institutes was coming from international sources, including the EU's framework programmes. There was therefore a strong wish to develop the Norwegian research institutes so as to make them internationally competitive.

Reorganising the research bodies would create improved coordination and closer research cooperation in fisheries, aquacultural and agricultural research. The aim of the reorganisation was to attain considerable synergistic effects, both in the professional and the market-related domains.

In March 2005, the Norwegian government suggested the establishment of a holding company for the commercially directed R&D units with a main office in Tromsø and subsidiaries in Bergen and Ås, as well as a possible subsidiary in Tromsø. In the end, the company was established from Akvaforsk, Fiskeriforskning, Matforsk, Norconserv and relevant commercial R&D activities at the administrative bodies the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research, the Norwegian National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research and the Norwegian National Veterinary Institute. In May 2005, the government proposed the establishment of Nofima AS, and the Storting (the Norwegian parliament) endorsed the proposal in June 2005.

An interim board was established and a managing director for the interim period was employed. Various projects were initiated to prepare the establishment of the new research group.

In connection with the revised state budget in the spring of 2007, the government submitted the Nofima case to the Storting, which gave its approval to the establishment of Nofima. In the autumn of 2007, Nofima took over the stock and thus became the official owner of the institutes. Comprehensive strategies for the fusion and new organisational structure were drawn up. The CEO, Director of Corporate Communication and other managerial positions were filled, and the group was operative as of 1 January 2008.


In 2011 Nofima resolved to merge the wholly-owned subsidiary companies into the parent company Nofima AS. The purpose of the mergers was to simplify the group’s corporate structure and to increase efficiency.

On 4 April 2011 the relevant boards resolved to sign the merger plan and the board’s report in full, meaning that Nofima Marin AS, Nofima Mat AS and Nofima Bergen AS were merged into the parent company Nofima AS in accordance with the rules for simplified mergers pursuant to Section 13-23 of the Norwegian Public Limited Liability Companies Act. The parent company, Nofima AS, acquired all the subsidiary companies’ assets, rights and liabilities.

The merger was completed on July 6, 2011.