The great Norwegian salmon auction got underway this week with more than 40 companies bidding for fish farming licences worth billions of kroner.
Postponed from June because of the coronavirus pandemic, the potential to produce an additional 27,000 tonnes of salmon is up for grabs in nine areas of the country designated ‘green’ under the new traffic light system, indicating they have the lice problem under control. Estimates vary, but in a similar auction two years ago salmon companies spent more than NOK three billion (£256 million) for new licences. Expansion comes in two parts, the first at a fixed price and the remainder through an auction.
A total of 42 companies are in the frame this year including most of the big names such as Mowi, Lerøy, Norway Royal Salmon and Grieg, but several smaller companies have also joined the bidding.
Carefully watching the outcome will be dozens of local communities where the fish farms are based because they are due to receive up to £200-million (NOK 2.25 billion) under the Aquaculture Fund and a further NOK 1-billion next year. The money is used to fund education, health centres and other community projects. The news outlet NT.24 said one region with high expectation is Trondelag which is totally coloured green and where ten companies are bidding for the licences on offer. Last time Trondelag coastal and county municipalities received around NOK 530 million (£45 million) from the Aquaculture Fund.
Fisheries and Seafood Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen said:
‘The aquaculture industry is important for Norwegian value creation, and contributes to securing activity and jobs along the coast. We are now putting out new permits for sale.’