LOCAL councillors in the Norwegian city of Tromsø are facing a mounting backlash over their decision to ban any further open salmon farming inside municipal boundaries.
They have also ordered a halt to the expansion of existing fish farms unless they are enclosed or land based.
An alliance of left and green parties on the city council imposed the ban last week as part of its new coastal climate and environmental plan.
But now the company Norway Royal Salmon, which had been planning extra investment with a new salmon waste facility in the area, has warned it may be forced to look elsewhere.
CEO Charles Høstlund told the city newspaper iTromsø that he was both surprised and disappointed by the decision.
He said: ‘As a company, we depend on predictability and it is clear that the decision may affect our location planning, if we decide to move ahead with our plan to build a separate salmon waste plant.’
He added that there was still a lot of ignorance about how the aquaculture industry operated, and he accused the city council of trying to impose new technology that had not been fully developed.
Meanwhile, Norway’s fisheries minister, Harald Tom Nesvik, accused the city council of sending the wrong signals to the industry and potential investors, giving the impression it was not interested in the aquaculture sector or in further growth.
He said that while he respected local democracy and the decision was essentially a matter between the council and local voters, he was nevertheless surprised, especially as the municipality had recently received millions of kroners from the Aquaculture Fund.
Picture: Norwegian fisheries minister Harald Tom Nesvik