Norway moves ahead on offshore farming development

Cecilie Myrseth

The Norwegian government says it will be assessing the potential environmental impact of fish farming on the three pilot areas it has identified as suitable for offshore aquaculture.

Last year the government named three possible locations, but now it wants to see if they are suitable for salmon farming.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries says it wants to find out more about the possible environmental impact of such a development on the locations which are known as “Norskerenna sør”, “Frøyabanken nord” and “Trænabanken”

Developing offshore is also seen as a way of reducing the impact on coastal locations. A number of Norwegian fish farming companies, including SalMar Aker Ocean, already have long term plans for developing offshore fish farming.

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Cecilie Myrseth (pictured) said a thorough analysis was important, particularly regarding the environment, fish welfare and the relationship between aquaculture and other marine industries.

She added: “This is a new milestone in the government’s work to establish aquaculture at sea which we think will be of great importance for future value creation for the Norwegian industry.”

The government says it wants to get an overview of the possible consequences of salmon, trout and rainbow trout aquaculture being established within these defined areas. The assessment is due to be completed by October this year.

The results of the assessment will be decisive for the authorities’ decisions about whether all or parts of an area are suitable for offshore aquaculture, and which parts of the area should be advertised first.

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