£100 million bonus for fish farming communities
Coastal communities which host fish farming sites are set to receive an increased payout of NOK 1.4bn (£103m) from the Norwegian Aquaculture Fund, the Oslo government has announced.
The money will be used to develop various welfare and social projects in areas which are often isolated from the main urban centres.
The government says it is raising contributions to the Aquaculture Fund by around NOK 900m (£68m), over the previous budget. It will go to some 142 municipalities and seven county municipalities, all in areas where fish farming operations are located.
Fisheries and Oceans Minister Cecilie Myrseth said: “With the government’s action, a significant part of the value creation that takes place in the aquaculture industry will remain in the local communities.”
She added: “This is fresh money into tight municipal budgets that will contribute to welfare and development locally. The payments are part of the social contract, municipalities that facilitate commercial activities must be compensated for this.”
Norway’s Labour-Centre Party coalition government has said it is keen to get the welfare benefit message from its new aquaculture policy across to the public.
It has come under serious criticism over its salmon tax stance from some of these communities in recent months, following job losses related to aquaculture and investment projects put on hold.
The Centre Party lost particularly heavily in these areas in September’s municipal elections, largely as a result of the salmon tax policy.
The aquaculture fund is largely financed by a production levy and from the sale of new farming capacity licences.