The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has imposed a fine of just over NOK 1 million ($90,000) on the Norwegian Gannet.
The boat has a unique dispensation allowing it to export fish directly to a Danish packing plant. However, there is a specific requirement for the fish to be unconscious before slaughter, achieved onboard using an electric stunner.
The reason behind the million-kroner fine stems from a modification made to the stunner’s strength, which was reduced from 110 volts to a range of 30 to 50 volts. Importantly, there was no documented proof that this alteration was as effective.
“We take the matter seriously. Violation fees are one of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s strongest tools,” Kristina Birkeland, a senior inspector at the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, told local newspaper Bergens Tidende.
In defence of the change, Kristian Haugland, the general manager of the shipping company, explained that it was done with fish welfare in mind. The adjustment aimed to provide gentler and more effective anesthesia for the fish.
With harvesting capacity of 160,000 tonnes of salmon per year, the Norwegian Gannet had a significantly larger capacity than any processing plant in Norway when it was first launched in 2018.