Mayors mutiny over salmon tax

The Storting parliament in Norway. Photo: stortingnet.no

THE mayors of at least 70 local municipalities along the Norwegian coast are demanding a ‘fair share’ of any new salmon tax imposed on the country’s aquaculture industry.

The government has announced proposals for a tax of NOK O.40 (40 øre or cents) per kilogramme on salmon, trout and rainbow trout which is expected to produce annual revenues of at least a billion kroner (£85 million) for fish farming communities which they maintain could produce considerably less income than what they receive under the present Aquaculture Fund. Then they were being paid up to 85 per cent of revenues from sales and auction fees, which they claim could drop down to 25 per cent under the new proposals. ‘This would represent a significant reduction and we cannot accept that,’ they say, suggesting their share should be at least 60 per cent.

The mayors have put their signatures to a joint letter to the Storting, Norway’s parliament, saying that any future community payments should at least be at current levels and increased over future years. The money is used to improve local schools and local health, welfare and recreational facilities. If improved by parliament, the new tax should come into force next year with the first community payments following in 2022.

Some fish farming towns are suggesting that the levy should be increased from 40 cents a kilo as soon as possible. They maintain: ‘This money is incredibly important – it helps to keep our services running and it provides valuable welfare to residents in these areas.’ The communities also say that want to see a strong and sustainable aquaculture industry which the new tax should help provide.