“The quality of Norwegian salmon is important for market access”

Aslak Berge

Five months after the processing vessel “Norwegian Gannet” was handed over to Hav Line, the quality regulations for salmon were changed.

What may well be called “Lex Norwegian Gannet”, section 17, first paragraph of the quality regulation, is particularly at the forefront of the ongoing lawsuit between Hav Line and the Norwegian government. Because the wording here was changed on April 24, 2019.

“Farmed fish should be sorted domestically so that fish with wounds, malformations, gross treatment errors or internal quality defects are not converted into human consumption.”

The change in regulations is that the fish “should be sorted domestically”.

“And what is meant by domestic? Both land area and sea area,” says government lawyer Torje Sunde, adressing the counterpart Hav Line’s argument for using the terminal in Hirtshals as a so-called “customs warehouse”.

The processing boat was delivered to its owners in early November 2018.

After a day and a half for plaintiff in court, the starting representative can conduct his introductory lecture.

“If the plaintiff wins, there is reason to believe that this industry, which is strong in capital, that other players will start similar projects. If allowed, the state does not have regulatory authorities to correct the errors”, Sunde continues.

“Everyone knows that “it is great to be Norwegian in Denmark”, but it may not be as easy in all other countries.”

“The quality of the salmon and the reputation of the salmon are closely, is the governments view,” he says.

“Norway spends huge sums on marketing seafood,” he says, referring especially to the state-owned company Norway’s Seafood Council.

“The “Seafood from Norway” brand is available to anyone who applies for it. It is not uncommon for other countries,” he says, emphasising brands, among other things, on wine and chocolate.

“Do we have reason to believe that this will strengthen Norwegian salmon’s reputation abroad?” asks Sunde rhetorically before he replies:

“When we look at reputation studies, this side thinks so. The quality of Norwegian salmon is important for market access. The governments’s claim is that quality is important for selling Norwegian salmon.”

He refers to a reputation survey conducted by the Kantar analysis firm, which emphasises that colour, freshness and appearance are crucial, when a consumer chooses salmon and not other products.

The elephant in the room, presented earlier on by opposing party’s lawyer, Karl O. Wallevik, that Norwegian processing jobs are dependent on “production fish”, is not yet emphasised.

“Hav Line believes that the focus on fish quality and reputation is emphasised by the government, while the reality is to protect Norwegian jobs, Wallevik said.”

Sunde also argues for price differences in Chilean and Norwegian salmon based on lower quality rating, and refers to a statement from Kontali Analysis.


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