Twenty five salmon and trout companies plan to sue the Norwegian government over the new fish farming traffic light scheme. They argue they are not only being robbed of part of their livelihood, but the country is losing out on the country’s second most important export product.
Under the plan introduced at the start of the year the coastline was divided into three colour regions – green where growth if free to take place, amber which allows for limited expansion and red where production must be reduced by at least six per cent. The red zone, known as Area-4 is located in the south west of Norway.
The Fish Farmer Magazine website reported at the time that many companies were unhappy and legal action was a possibility. Now 25 companies have got together and put their words into action by hiring a legal team to take on the Oslo government.
The Ministry of Trade and Industry said at the time that the red zone was necessary to reduce incidents of salmon lice and the threat to wild fish stocks. But Even Søfteland, a spokesperson for the aquaculture companies says the proposed reduction of six per cent is the equivalent of up to 12,000 tonnes or four million fish. The fish farming companies stress that while they are not against a traffic light scheme as such, there is no professional basis for the way it is being implemented, pointing out that salmon lice incidents in the red zone are lower than at any time for many years. They also point out that the planned cutback will impact on many local communities who depend on aquaculture for additional tax revenues.