Controversial ‘red light’ decision based on faulty methodology say producers

Editorial Staff

Methodology behind controversial down-grading of production capacity in PO4 in 2020 was fatally flawed say producers.

Aquaculture companies in Norway’s Production Area 4 (PO4) have petitioned for the reopening of the “Traffic Clearing House,” citing access to what they term as “decisive new information.”

The move comes following the capping of production capacity by the country’s Ministry of Trade and Fisheries in 2020 under the so-called Traffic Light System.

Under this system, aquaculture enterprises in PO4 were required to reduce production capacity by six percent in 2020.

The decision, they argue, has had devastating consequences for their operations, the broader supplier industry, and relevant municipalities.

How does Norway’s traffic light system for salmon farming work?

Despite their earlier attempt to challenge the validity of the decision through legal means, the aquaculture companies have, until this point, been unsuccessful. However, they now assert that new evidence has emerged, indicating the lack of a factual basis for Ministry of Trade and Fisheries’s decision in 2020, according to a press release from the PO3/4 Kunnskaps-inkubator (Knowledge Incubator).

Consequently, 22 aquaculture companies in PO4 have appealed to the Frostating Court of Appeal to reconsider the Gulating Court of Appeal’s judgment from May 2, 2022. They anticipate that a reassessment based on the newly available facts will warrant the lifting of the red traffic light in PO4 imposed in 2020.

Critically, revelations regarding methodological flaws have emerged concerning the ministry’s previous assessment. Instances include alterations to the Institute of Marine Research’s virtual post-smolt model, revealing that PO4 did not warrant a red designation in 2019.

Additionally, discrepancies in observations, particularly regarding lice on trawl-caught smolts in 2019, have come to light, indicating methodological issues.

The aquaculture companies argue that this flawed system cannot justify the down-grading of a vital industry. Despite efforts to communicate these findings to the ministry, they claim to have been met with silence.

The petition for the reopening of the case is now awaiting a ruling from the Frostating Court of Appeal, expected in the coming months.


Related Articles