New fisheries minister pledges growth


NORWAY’S new fisheries minister has described Per Sandberg as one of the best ministers the seafood industry and the country has ever had.
Harald Tom Nesvik was speaking at the handover ceremony, which took place during a lightning storm shortly after Sandberg resigned following his controversial visit to Iran last month with Bahareh Letnes, a former Iranian beauty queen turned fish exporter.
He was brought down not because of his relationship with Letnes, but because he failed to notify his own department and the prime minister’s office of his intention to visit a country at the centre of a major international crisis and one which has been sanctioned by the United States.
He also broke security rules by taking his official phone with him on holiday.
His political opponents immediately smelt blood and began asking questions in Norway’s parliament, the Storting, piling pressure on Erna Solberg’s fragile government.
Nesvik who, like Sandberg, is a member of Norway’s centre right Progress Party, thanked Sandberg for his work, adding: ‘I\’ve learned a lot about you over the years. You have absolutely been one of the best fisheries ministers this country has had.’
The two men have been friends for the past 20 years.
Nesvik pledged to do his best for the entire fishing industry, to create jobs and to stimulate growth and ensure cleaner seas.
‘It is an honour to have this job and I will be fisheries minister for the whole country,’ he said.
The new minister is well versed with the issues facing both the fishing and aquaculture industries and has written about them both.
He is expected to maintain his predecessor’s policy of continued expansion for aquaculture and fishery reform.
But fish farming companies will be waiting to see if he bows to pressure to impose additional taxes on the industry.
Solberg said the decision to resign was Sandberg’s alone. But rarely has one person’s summer holiday gripped a nation like this, with its potent mixture of sex and high political drama.
Letnes has described the treatment of her man as a ‘witch hunt’. She described him as ‘one of Norway’s best politicians’.


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