New salmon traffic light scheme ‘almost ready’

Norway's fish farmers spent record levels battling sea lice last year said Nofima

NORWAY’S seafood minister, Harald Tom Neskvik, has announced that the country’s long awaited new traffic light scheme for regulating future growth in the aquaculture industry is now well on track and should start to be fully implemented over the next few weeks.

He declared: ‘We have not yet switched on the lights, but we hope to do that before the end of the autumn.

‘We now plan to start measuring and testing everything before we turn everything on,’ the minister told the market leading financial provider TDN Direkt at the DNB Markets seafood conference in Norway.

But he added that the changes would not formally come into effect until next year in order to give the industry time to adjust.

It is more than four years since Oslo first decided that salmon farming should be managed by a colour code system to regulate growth and decide which parts of the country are best suited for fish farming.

The first part of the scheme was introduced two years ago. Those areas shaded green will be fully open to growth, while yellow or amber dictates that production should be frozen at current levels. Red areas mean that production will either be stopped or cut back.

New licences awarded in the first round gave a potential annual production increase of 7,897 tonnes. Farmers in green zones are given the opportunity to bid for permits at an auction.

The ministry believes that the scheme, which could also include trout farming, should provide companies with a large measure of predictability.

Meanwhile, Nesvik said earlier that the government is determined to spend millions of kroner on a greener marine policy, which will include clearing plastic along the coast and reducing carbon dioxide emissions in both fishing and fish farming.