Mowi heritage site plans stalled again

A MOWI plan to start fish farming on a world heritage site in the north of Norway has been put on hold – yet again

Less than a month after it thought it had been given the all clear, the company has been told in a shock move by the Directorate of Fisheries to postpone work. The decision follows a complaint from the National Antiquities Authority, which has warned about a possible damaging impact of introducing fish farming to the area. The Directorate says it wants to ensure full transparency in the matter. Two weeks ago the Norwegian branch of UNESCO registered an objection and called for a meeting with the Oslo government over the plan

The issue has been bouncing back and forth like a never ending aquaculture version of tennis since 2016 when Mowi, then as Marine Harvest, was given the go ahead by the County Governor of Nordland to carry out aquaculture at Rødskjæran on the Vega Islands, an area renowned for its birdlife and as a breeding ground for eider ducks who are valued for their feathers. The proposal had won the backing of many local people in this remote part of Norway who saw it as means of improving their economic prosperity .

But this week The Directorate said there had been a number of powerful objections. Its aquaculture manager Øyvind Lie said in a press release it was important that work should not get underway until they were all fully examined. So far Mowi, which thought it had won the battle after a successful appeal earlier this year, has yet to comment. Vega gained world heritage status in 2004 when it was placed on the UNESCO list.