Time limits on aquaculture permits ‘will create uncertainty’

A reduction in sites can be done without a significant loss of biomass say Norwegian researchers

The industry group Seafood Norway has said there is no need for time limits to be imposed on aquaculture permits.

Creating an expiry date for permits, it suggests, would create unnecessary uncertainty.

The move has already been suggested, among others, by the county authority in Finnmark where a lot of fish farming is carried out.

But Jon Arne Grøttum, director of aquaculture at Seafood Norway, said: “Our short answer is that we agree with the Aquaculture Committee that a time limit on aquaculture permits should not be introduced.

“When we now see what is proposed, we will flag that we do not think it would be a wise element to introduce, either for existing or new company licences for salmon and trout.”

He said Norway’s Aquaculture Committee did not come up with a proposal for a time limit on permits for salmon, but opened up the possibility of having it for other species.

Grøttum justifies the industry organisations’ point of view by saying that any regulatory interest (ground rent) is already established through auctions, production tax and ground rent tax.

Secondly, predictable framework conditions, which ensure long-term investments, are essential for development and innovation in a mature and integrated value chain.

He said that if the Finnmark council proposal was taken up, it would have meant expropriation of assigned rights for which the industry’s practitioners have paid, and would be in addition to the ground rent taxes already introduced.

The introduction of a time limit on new permits also raises significant challenges with regard to predictability for the industry, and how this should be practiced, says Seafood Norway’s (Sjømat Norge’s) response to the consultation.

“It cannot be understated that a time limit on company licences will create uncertainty for investors and access to risk capital which is necessary for the further development of this important industry,” he concluded.

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