Trade union leader fears for jobs after aquaculture industry halts investments

editorial staff

The tax shock could have major ripple effects.

Mowi, Lerøy, Cermaq, SalMar, Nordlaks, Nova Sea and Emilsen Fisk. Every day, messages come in from fish farming companies that have stopped investments and growth plans, as a consequence of the government’s newly proposed resource rent tax in aquaculture.

Trade union leader Roald Jensen, chief shop steward at Mowi’s processing plant in Hjelmeland and board member of the Norsk Nærings- og Nytelsesmiddelarbeiderforbund (NNN) in Rogaland, is concerned about the consequences of taxing aquaculture more heavily than before.

Roald Jensen

“In the meeting with the group management, we have received assurances that people will not directly lose their jobs because of the new tax. But there is concern among the employees about what could happen in the long term if Mowi stops investments and takes measures to avoid tax and be able to produce more cheaply,” Jensen told the local newspaper Strandbuen.

“Today we have a salmon processing plant with salmon filleting in Hjelmeland. Many farming companies have chosen to send the fish abroad and process it there to save money. Our fear is that it will also happen to the salmon from Hjelmeland,” Jensen said.

Jensen refers here to the harvest boat “Norwegian Gannet”, which delivers fish directly to a processing plant in Hirtshals in Denmark.

“Norwegian Gannet” at Hirtshals. Photo: Preben Andersen

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Mowi suggested in a message on Tuesday morning that the company will invest outside of Norway in the future:

“Mowi is a global company and salmon is not local. It can be produced both on water and on land all over the world – close to the big markets. If the proposal for a 62 percent tax is adopted, the aquaculture industry in Norway is facing the biggest setback in its 50-year history and the leading position Norway has is about to fall.”