Coastal mayors from Norway’s Centre Party warn on salmon tax rumours

Fish farming companies in Norway are bracing themselves for a possible new “salmon tax” next month.

The Oslo Labour coalition government will present the country’s national budget on 6 October and there are widespread reports that taxes on aquaculture industry profits will be hiked.

The reports led at the weekend to several Centre Party mayors urging the government not to proceed with such a plan.

There is no doubt that salmon farm profits have increased substantially this year on the back of soaring prices, but so too have costs, notably for energy, feed and labour.

Fish farming and conventional fishing provide an economic lifeline for many of Norway’s coastal communities.

Mayor Sigrun Wiggen Prestbakmo, who represents the Salangen municipality in the Troms and Finnmark region, told the national broadcaster NRK that the government should put an end to the tax rise rumours, saying it would be robbery on such communities.

She said: “I have told the municipal minister that if this is implemented, he must prioritise crisis packages along the coast, but the Ministry of Finance will not discuss what is in the budget until it is presented next month.”

Prestbakmo said: “the state must find another way to plug the hole in the state budget”, arguing that “if the government responds by slapping on more taxes then many jobs along the coast will be depleted within a few years”.

Government spokeswoman Therese Riiser replied: “Tax and duty changes will be presented in the state budget on 6 October. We will not comment on what it will contain until then.”

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