Arrest of Norwegian expands possible scope of salmon-smuggling ring

Adrian Nyhammer Olsen/

A Norwegian woman that once lived in the Bergen area has been arrested by Chinese police and is suspected of complicity in a smuggling operation that moved tonnes of Norwegian — and apparently Scottish — salmon into China, Norwegian news reports confirm.

“The Foreign Ministry understands that a Norwegian citizen has been jailed in China,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Frode Overland Andersen, told Sysla. They, according to, Fiskeribladet, would only confirm that a Norwegian had been arrested in China.

Yesterday, SalmonBusiness wrote that Chinese officials had seized a haul worth USD 90 million after breaking up a smuggling ring. Late Thursday, however, Norwegian Fiskeribladet wrote that the woman — who had lived in Norway but now, reportedly, resident in Shanghai — had been arrested in connection with the Chinese anti-smuggling raid.

However, since then, SalMar managing director, Trond Williksen, has confirmed for newspaper, Adressa, that the detained woman has had an agreement with SalMar that stretched back to 2007. Thew newspaper spoke to exporters who confirmed they had no idea what the end destination of exported Norwegian salmon was, adding that it was not standard practice to investigate after-sales activity.

The scope of the story is unsure, however, after TV images showed some of the boxes in the Chinese haul of frozen salmon had the “crown” label of Marine Harvest Scotland on them (sign of the company’s status as an official court supplier to Buckingham Palace). Marine Harvest, however, confirmed it had years ago stopped sending salmon to China through Vietnam .


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