Nordlaks offshore farm wins production permits

Norwegian salmon farming company Nordlaks won a reprieve at the weekend in its bid to start full commercial production on its huge offshore platform, Havfarm 1.

The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries had said it would not allow Nordlaks to convert its 13 development permits for the new site into commercial food licences, but that decision has now been reversed.

The licences are said to have a market value of around £220m for the company, which is based in northern Norway.

The news comes just days after the family-owned business announced it was temporarily laying off 80 workers due to a lack of “raw materials” – in other words, there were not enough fish in the pens to employ a full team at its processing facilities.

Last summer the Directorate turned down Nordlaks’ application to convert the development permits, citing fish welfare grounds. Nordlaks later launched an appeal.

A week ago, following discussions with union shop stewards, Nordlaks said it was laying off staff for two weeks. The company said the decision was based on seasonal factors and not directly related to the permits issue.

It stated: “This [shortage] has happened every winter for many years, with the exception of 2021 when the slaughter of Nordlaks’ sea farm overlapped in the winter period when the supply of ready-to-harvest raw material is at its lowest.”

Most of the workers affected are in the company slaughterhouse and at a fillet processing centre. Havfarm 1 will now remain empty until a new release of salmon later this spring.

Nordlaks said Havfarm is the main provider of salmon for its slaughterhouse and fillet factory, adding that it did not have enough ready to harvest raw material to maintain continuous production. It plans to step up training of some staff during the lull.

 

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