Salmon industry must clean up its act – Norway Minister

Cecilie Myrseth

Cecilie Myrseth, Norway’s new Fisheries Minister, has told the salmon industry that it must do much better to ensure fish welfare.

The sector has been rocked by a series of incidents in recent weeks involving mortalities and issues over the export of damaged fish.

The minister made her comments after a meeting with the employer organisations Seafood Norway and Seafood Companies and the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

According to the national broadcaster NRK, she described the meeting as constructive, adding that the country had seen pictures of issues no-one wanted.

NRK and the newspaper DN.no has been central in exposing some of the scandals such as mass salmon deaths, poor farming practices and other issues which have hit the headlines in recent weeks. Other issues have come to light following checks by the Food Safety Authority.

Myrseth is clearly worried about damage to the reputation of Norwegian salmon abroad. “It should not be like this,” she said.

Geir Ove Ystmark, CEO Seafood Norway

The companies have denied some of the allegations that are now flying around. However, Seafood Norway CEO Geir Ove Ystmark said that while aquaculture was a continuous improvement effort, it was now time to take action in the light of recent incidents.

He said: “Seafood Norway has now taken action to improve the situation and ensure that the regulations are understood and followed – and without exception.

“We see – and have always seen – breaches of the regulations as unacceptable. We will also look into how we can make more information available and build a culture of openness to build trust in us and our business. “

He said the common denominator for several of the cases recently is the use of specialist boats in connection with emergency slaughter.

“On the basis of a good dialogue with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, we are now in the process of concluding the work with a written clarification of the emergency slaughter process. This is to ensure good compliance with the rules, Ystmark added.

Seafood Norway is now working on a package of measures to improve the situation.

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