The Government will accept a five per cent growth in the Norwegian aquaculture industry, but with stringent demands regarding lice.
“The Government will pursue a policy that gives the industry increased competitiveness and thus the opportunity to create greater value. As part of this, we will facilitate an environmentally responsible expansion of aquaculture” says Elisabeth Aspaker, Minister of Fisheries.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries will permit all established fish farmers to increase their production capacity by five per cent, corresponding to an increase in production of approximately 60,000 tons, assuming that all accept this growth.
This growth is permitted on the basis of much stricter environmental demands regarding lice, the industry's biggest environmental challenge at the moment. These demands imply that there may not be more than 0.1 adult female lice per farmed fish on average at sites where concessions with extended capacity are exploited. The limit of 0.1 should be maintained using a maximum of two medicamental treatments per production cycle. This will help reduce the development of resistance against the delousing agents used today. The environmental demands apply to all licenses where growth is permitted. The requirements are much more stringent than the current limit of 0.5 lice. The new requirements are also more stringent than those launched for the 45 green concessions that were announced last autumn. This will lay the foundation for making the entire Norwegian aquaculture industry greener. The challenge regarding escaped fish will be dealt with as a separate issue.
This approach will help reduce the lice level by up to 30 per cent. By shifting the battle against lice to non- medicamental methods, we can help hinder any further development in resistance”, says Alsaker.
Stricter demands regarding lice will be followed up through increased control, especially from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority. The Government will strengthen its control by way of extra funding totalling NOK 10 million. Any violation of these conditions will be met with predictable reactions and sanctions.
Increased payments to municipalities
Compensation for the capacity increase is set at NOK 1.5 billion. The Government proposes that half of the proceeds will accrue to the municipalities.
“The aquaculture industry is dependent on good localities, and thus the municipalities’ good will in the long run I believe that it is right that the municipalities receive a high share of the compensation. It can amount to up to NOK 750 million”, says the Minister of Fisheries. .
The proposal for a rolling average maximum permitted biomass (MPB)
On 11 October 2013, the Stoltenberg Government sent a proposal for the introduction of a rolling average maximum permitted biomass (MPB) in the salmon and trout farming industry out for hearing. At the same time as I am now presenting a controlled and environmentally sound growth approach, I am doing away with the proposal for a rolling average MPB (maximum permitted biomass)”, says Fisheries Minister Elisabeth Aspaker.
The proposal has been sent to hearing
The allocation itself will be implemented through the issuance of allocation regulations. These have now been sent to hearing. The Government intends to have the final regulations enter into force as soon as the Storting (Parliament) passes a budget resolution in December on compensation for the capacity increase.