Independent journalist faces court for trespassing at salmon farm

Stian Olsen

Swedish journalist and fisherman, Mikael Frödin, must meet in a Norwegian District Court over trespassing charges.

In July 21 2017,  Frödin, dived and filmed salmon at a Grieg Seafood site in Altafjorden, northern Norway. Frödin, who was fined EUR 1054 for breaching the country’s Aquaculture Act, which states that you can not travel closer than 20 meters from a fish farm.

However Frödin refused to pay the fine and must go to court on November 2.

On his Facebook page, Frödin admits to breaching the plant, but said he refused to admit that he committed a criminal offense.

PHOTO: Mikael Frödin

“We gathered information, and it is my duty as a journalist to show the public the negative impact farming has on ecosystems,” wrote Frödin.

The film and photo material show, among other things, sick and deformed fish, and will be published in connection with a film that’s coming out in spring 2019.

“When initial information about the conditions in the fish farm in Altafjorden was necessary, I had no choice. We had to break the law to document the situation, “Frödin said.

I had no choice
Lawyer, Svein Holden, from the law firm Hjort, which represents Frøden in the court, used the “principle of necessity” defence to say that Frödin had acted in legal emergency, which was in the public interest.

According to Frödin, this picture is taken from Grieg Seafood. PHOTO: Mikael Frödin

“His purpose was only to gather information to illustrate the impact of the business on the environment,” said Holden, who said he wants all charges dropped.

In an interview with Dagens Næringsliv, the newspaper put to Holden, is he was sure that the pictures were from Grieg Seafood’s plant in Altafjorden? “As far as I know, the pictures from that plant are, yes,” answered Frodin.

Andreas Kvame, Chief Executive Officer of Grieg Seafood, doubted Holden’s defense saying: “We obviously have a very different opinion of what emergency rights are for something. But beyond that, we have no further comments on the matter.”


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