Salmon companies in flight plea to Russia

A NUMBER of Norwegian fish farming companies have called on their government to press Moscow to lift its ban on salmon flights over Russia during the Covid-19 crisis.

The call has come from Sjømatbedriftene, the Federation of Seafood Businesses, which says the move would go some way to relieving a beleaguered salmon export sector.

Several Norwegian media outlets are reporting that federation CEO, Robert Eriksson, who has also been critical of a recent government decision to grant processing exemptions to Mowi and Lerøy Seafood, has requested that the transport minister, Knut Arild Hareide, should take up the issue as a matter of urgency.

Eriksson said: ‘I want him to make contact with his Russian colleague to look at the possibility of exempting the Russian air space, so that airlines that can now assist will have the opportunity to fly Norwegian seafood out to those markets that want it.’

It is though those markets include Japan and South Korea, which seem to be getting on top of coronavirus.

But there are also signs that China is beginning to open up again. Last year, Norway exported more than 260,000 tonnes of salmon by air, much of it to the Far East.

Eriksson is also worried that the Asian market could rapidly pick up shortly, catching out salmon exporters because so many airlines have grounded their aircraft.

He said: ‘Although many seafood markets have closed because of coronavirus, there are still markets that are growing, leading to increased demand.

‘The big challenge facing companies is how to get their fish out into the world while planes are left on the ground,’ he added.