Threat to Mowi world heritage site licence


MOWI has been told it may lose its fish farming licence in the Vega Islands World Heritage Area in the north of Norway.
The warning has been issued by the Norwegian Environment Agency, which is looking again at the impact of aquaculture in what is viewed as a unique natural habitat.
The Vega region is a cluster of dozens of small islands just south of the Arctic Circle, covering a land and water area of more than 100,000 hectares (250,000 acres) and is home to 230 species of birds.
The islands bear testimony to a simple way of life, dating back 1,500 years, based on small scale fishing and, in particular, the breeding and harvesting of eider ducks renowned for their feathers.
Nordland County Council had earlier granted Mowi permission to begin salmon and trout farming in part of the Vega cluster.
However, the state broadcaster NRK reports that the move has met with strong opposition from such powerful groups as Unesco and the Forum for Nature and Outdoor Life, which claims that fish farming activities can harm the local eider duck population.
The Environment Agency has rejected some of the environmental claims because they were lodged too late.
But it has also said it is considering whether to call back the permit granted to Mowi because it feels it does not have enough information on the impact of aquaculture on bird life.
In the meantime, Mowi has said it will put development work on hold while it looks carefully at some of the environmental arguments now being put forward. It said it will reply more fully in the next week or two.


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