Industry chiefs attack new traffic light plan


Salmon industry opposition is growing to the Norwegian government’s revision of the “traffic light system” which sets rules for where aquaculture development is permitted.

The chief executives of both Mowi and Leroy Seafoods, Ivan Vindheim and Henning Beltestad respectively, have publicly come out against the proposals.

They have said the new plan will do nothing to create investment or increase jobs along the coast.

However, the government disagrees, saying the reformed system will lead to greater value creation and improved export income.

The revised system is based on scientific modelling of how sea lice populations impact on wild salmon. The original traffic light system divided the Norwegian coast into zones or areas based on the estimated risk to wild salmon presented by fish farms and the sea lice numbers associated with them.

Under the proposed changes, two areas of the coast have been designated as “red light”, which means a reduction in production will be required, while six have been given “yellow light” status which means no increase in production.

Six areas have been granted “green lights” which allow for an increase in salmon farming.

Ivan Vindheim, CEO, Mowi

Norway’s traffic light scheme has been controversial from the beginning. Two years ago a group of salmon companies unsuccessfully appealed against the first plan in one area, arguing that it was intrusive and would damage their businesses.

The current government is worried that salmon lice numbers in Norway are on the increase, which is why it has brought in a revised scheme.

The new scheme, which covers this year and part of 2025, will allow the industry to grow by around 6%.

The growth will be allocated in two rounds, first a portion at a fixed price, and then the rest through auction.

Some industry experts however, argue that the scheme will have little effect on salmon lice and have said that other measures are needed.

Henning Beltestad, CEO Leroy Seafood



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