The body representing Denmark’s fish farming industry has hit out strongly against government plans to curb further coastal based expansion.
Last week Environment Minister Lea Wermelin introduced two new bills to restrict growth in the offshore sector “in order to protect the marine environment”.
Now the chairman of Danish Aquaculture, Niels Dalsgaard, has criticised the proposals as totally misguided and has called for a meeting with the minister.
He said Denmark’s aquaculture industry was already producing food in a healthy, climate friendly and environmentally efficient manner.
He declared: “I find it worrying that the Minister of the Environment does not want to listen to the profession or the Ministry of the Environment’s own conclusions in the latest aquaculture review… these bills will openly slow down all development in the aquaculture sector. There is a lack of professional evidence.”
Dalsgaard pointed out that Denmark’s aquaculture companies had been leaders in a number of technological developments including the supply of large trout smolts to fish farms.
By restricting sustainable development at sea, he said, the Minister was also removing a large part of the basis for land-based facilities which she claimed she wanted to promote.
Her proposal made no sense, either environmentally or as a business policy, and it testified to a complete lack of understanding and respect for the entire industry’s value chains, its exports and employment contribution, particularly in rural areas.
Dalsgaard accused the minister of overlooking some important points in her efforts to promote sustainable fish farming.
Both the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standard and the organic label ensure that stricter considerations have been taken into account for the environmental and sustainable aquaculture with several Danish aquaculture farms working according to these standards.
He said: “I would like to know why the Minister of believes that neither ASC certification nor the eco-label to be sustainable?
Overall, we want to see a diverse sector, but with this initiative will not only stop development at sea, but also the development of organic farms.”
Dalsgaard added: “I believe that the Minister of the Environment owes us a meeting so that we can discuss these bills.
Danish Aquaculture points out that the country’s fish farms produce just 0.06 per cent of the total nitrogen output in its waters and 0.5 per cent of nitrogen output on land, yet it contributed 1.5 billion kroner (£182 million) in export revenues.