Breaking news: Mowi loses first round in tax case

Ivan Vindheim, Mowi CEO, at Seafood Expo Global 2024, Barcelona

Mowi has lost the first round of a court battle against Norway’s “salmon tax”.

A court in Hordaland, Norway has rejected the company’s lawsuit against the tax, also known as the ground rent or resource rent tax. The company said it will study the decision before deciding its next step.

Mowi has a month in which to lodge any appeal, but the news is clearly a big blow for the world’s largest salmon farmer, which has consistently branded the tax as unfair.

CEO Ivan Vindheim has been arguably the industry’s strongest voice against the tax, telling the court it was discriminatory and contrary to EEA rules.

Government lawyers said that Mowi should still be able to file another lawsuit at a later date, when it receives more concrete tax proposals.

Mowi had told the court that “as the largest player in the industry, [we] are strongly affected by the distorting effects of competition”.

Mowi particularly objects to the different rules applying to large and small producers.

According to the business new site the Government Advocate replied that “…the basic deduction is not a ‘differential treatment’, but a threshold, which is objectively and legitimately justified – and benefits all players (including the big ones)”.

e.24 said the district court concludes that “the plaintiffs do not have a particular need for legal clarification today”.

Earlier this week, Vindheim posted a message on LinkedIn from the Seafood Expo Global in Barcelona, saying: “Everyone is asking about the Norwegian resource rent tax which is so devastating for the industry and the market. Hopefully the Norwegian politicians are able to see sense here eventually.”

Just where Mowi goes from here remains to be seen. But it may have to wait in the hope of a change of government, following the general election next year, before it gets its way. The Conservative opposition have pledged to scrap the tax.


Keep up with us

Fish Farmer May 2024 cover

The May 2024 issue of Fish Farmer is out now online