Norwegian Minister of Fisheries wags a warning finger at Witzoe

Aslak Berge

At a morning meeting at Danske Bank’s offices in Sondre gate in Trondheim this week, Fisheries Minister Per Sandberg met a number of the most famous leaders in Norwegian aquaculture.

Among the participants were Ole Erik Leroy (Chairman) and Alf-Helge Aarskog (CEO) of Marine Harvest, Trond Williksen (CEO) and Gustav Witzoe (owner) of Salmar, Helge Singelstad, chairman of Leroy Seafood Group, Charles Hostlund, CEO of Norway Royal Salmon, Andreas Kvame, manager of Grieg Seafood and owner and chief executive of Nordlaks, Inge Berg, according to Adresseavisen (requires password).

Zero growth
On the agenda was the fact that this government has not been able to provide growth to the aquaculture industry in its four years of governance. Sandberg’s most visible contribution to the industry is the introduction of an export or area fee for salmon.

Too little discussion
During this meeting, Gustav Witzoe expressed his opinion that there is too little discussion about the level at which the much-vaunted ‘traffic light system’ will achieve its purpose, which is to protect wild salmon.

“We rely on the Food Safety Authority to see whether we meet the criteria for growth, but we do not use resources to measure whether we achieve what we are looking for. When do we know if we have achieved the purpose of the new regulation?” asked Witzoe.

Sandberg replied that he would continuously investigate the effect of the new system, but added that he can not say anything about whether it will have a significant or a small effect on wild salmon.

Then he gave Witzoe a clear warning:

“Let me say one more thing, beacause you need to be careful, Gustav. This has to do with legitimacy. It’s about creating political legitimacy, and a legitimate right to farm along the coast.”

The Minister of Fisheries said that he has seen updated figures showing that the situation in production areas is now even better than the expert group had assumed.


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