Traffic light farmers denied Supreme Court appeal

A group of 25 salmon and trout farmers from south west Norway have lost their fight against the Oslo government’s controversial “traffic light” scheme.

They had planned to take their case to Norway’s Supreme Court following an Appeal Court rejection in May, but were told yesterday by the Supreme Court’s appeals committee, which examines whether appeals have a reasonable chance of success, that there were insufficient grounds for them to take their case further.

This means the Appeal Court’s decision stands and the group of 25 have now come to the end of the road in a protracted legal battle stretching back more than two years.

The farmers involved in the case are located between Nordhordland and Stadt, most of which has been classified as a “red” area. This means they must cut aquaculture production by 6%.

The traffic light scheme was brought in by the previous Conservative administration, but it had the support of Labour which is now in government.

It divided the country’s coastline into three colour coded production zones, consisting of green, where aquaculture expansion can take place virtually unhindered, amber or orange, where limited expansion is permitted and red where fish farming activity must be reduced.

The government argue that the scheme is necessary to reduce salmon lice and protect wild fish stocks.

However, the affected companies claimed the decision to designate their location as a red area was an abuse of power and lacked proper legal authority, despite the government ruling being upheld by two of the country’s courts.

The group has yet to comment on the setback.

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