European court dismisses Marine Harvest suit

by
E24/Salmon Business

A Luxembourg court has ruled against a Marine Harvest complaint of Norwegian state aid to the fisheries sector, saying, as well, that the European Free Trade Agreement’s Surveillance Authority, or ESA, was right in telling the company it didn’t have the authority to investigate.

The EFTA court has now dismissed the case, calling it “unfounded”.

“We are obviously disappointed over the decision. We will now read the judgement thoroughly before we evaluate further process,” Marine Harvest spokesperson, Ola Helge Hjetland said.

It was a Norwegian levy on exported fish and fish products that brought out a reaction from Marine Harvest. The tax is used to finance the Norwegian Seafood Council’s activities, which the company called illegal state subsidy.

Norway, together with Luxembourg and Switzerland, are part of the European Economic Area and trade from outside the European Union. The court noted that Article 8 on the EEA Agreement “does not include fish and other marine products unless otherwise specified”.

“Since ESA is not authorised to perform surveillance of State aid in the fisheries sector, it did not infringe its obligations under the EEA Agreement,” the ruling asserted.

ESA, which has Norwegian officers in Norway for enforcement, said it was satisfied with the EFTA ruling and that it agreed it didn’t have jurisdiction to act on the state-support claim.

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