Lobbyists send salmon to wrong city: ‘The smell of fish in the post office was quite overwhelming’

Editorial Staff

There is some dispute as to who is actually responsible for the mix-up which saw thousands of dollars of smoked salmon sent to the wrong offices. 

Packages of smoked salmon from Mowi, meant for the EU Parliament in Brussels were accidentally delivered while European parliamentarians were convened in Strasbourg.

The European Parliament, which primarily sits in Brussels, has an arrangement where its members periodically convene in Strasbourg, France. This system, which occurs approximately once every four weeks for plenary sessions.

The incident, which occurred earlier this month, left the post office in Brussels permeated with the scent of fish, according to Norwegian broadcaster TV2. The campaign is thought to have been part of a lobbying effort against impending EU regulations on fresh meat products.

Included in the shipment were leaflets lobbying against proposed EU rules poised to limit smoked salmon curing times to a maximum of 96 hours, potentially disrupting the industry’s economics and production scale.

Communications director Ola Helge Hjetland confirmed to TV2 that the salmon came from them.

“For reasons of durability, the products were sent directly from Mowi Poland’s factory,” he wrote in an email to the broadcaster.

The salmon was sent to selected parliamentarians and advisers. But the initiative did not come from Mowi, according to Hjetland, who claims the it originated with PSPR, an interest promotional body for the Polish fish processing industry of which Mowi in Poland is one of the member companies. PSPR has rejected this claim.

The method of lobbying, however, has drawn criticism. Grace O’Sullivan of the Greens in Ireland, who learned of the matter through a post on X (formerly Twitter), questioned the efficacy of such an approach.

“I am not sure whether sending several hundred kilos of salmon products is a particularly effective way of conveying the message,” wrote O’Sullivan. 

The EU Parliament’s ethical code mandates elected officials to reject gifts valued over €150, though it remains unclear if the value of the salmon packages exceeded this threshold.


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