End in sight for Norwegian and Russian salmon dispute – Fishupdate.com

End in sight for Norwegian and Russian salmon dispute Published:  03 October, 2008

AN end could be sight to the long running and sometimes bitter salmon dispute between Norway and Russia.

Hopes of a settlement rose when Helga Pedersen, the Norwegian Minister of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, met the Russian authorities recently. She said relations between the two countries has improved markedly since she was last in Moscow over two years ago.

The Russian Veterinary Service has promised Ms Pedersen they will speed up the approval of Norwegian fish processing plants which is necessary to obtain licenses for exports of salmon and other fish products to Russia. It is also hoped the thaw in relations will lead to joint action on stopping illegal fishing in the Barents Sea which is becoming a growing problem.

This fall Russian Veterinary Service will inspect all Norwegian fish processing factories which have applied for approval for export. All other fishery exporting companies will also be controlled so that their commerce to Russia can start up again.

Russia first imposed the ban in early 2006 which was later replaced by a licensing system for Norwegian export firms. Since then there have been several meeting between the two nations to try to solve the dispute. The Russians had claimed that there were high levels of lead and cadmium in some types of farmed salmon – something the Norwegians have always strenuously denied. The Norwegian Food Inspectorate disputed the Russian claims, arguing that countries like Japan and Singapore, which have very strict food and fish laws, have never complained about lead in Norwegian salmon.

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