Scrap Norway’s salmon permit auction, says industry

© Shutterstock

Two major employer organisations, Seafood Norway and Seafood Companies, have called on the government to scrap the upcoming salmon permit auction in the wake of last week’s budget tax shock.

The auction, which is held every two years and normally attracts strong interest, is due to be held on Wednesday this week. This time there appears to be little enthusiasm for it from the industry.

The last auction in 2020 netted NOK 7bn (£600m) for state coffers and local municipalities and this month’s event was expected to bring in NOK 10bn (£840m) – but that was before the budget tax blow.

Both organisations say there are a number of unresolved issues to which need to be clarified.

The Seafood Companies spokesman Robert Eriksson said it would be irresponsible to hold such a sale now because the sector does not know how the new 40% land tax will impact on the industry.

He said the situation had become somewhat chaotic, adding investment plans had come to a standstill.

Seafood Norway CEO Geir Ove Ystmark, added: “ The value of aquaculture licences has fallen dramatically in recent days, and just hours after the ground rent taxation became known, the drop in value for the listed companies was NOK 56 billion [£4.7bn] .

“The companies in the industry have the opportunity to buy growth at a fixed price ahead of the auction. It has been considered a bargain. Now we see that almost the entire industry has withdrawn these purchases. Simply because it is no longer profitable to buy at the price that has been set.”

A reply from the government is awaited.