Nor­way fish farm­ers bid mil­lions for li­cences

Fish Farmer - - European News -

NOR­WAY’S fish farm­ers have spent tens of bil­lions of kro­ners at auc­tion buy­ing new sal­mon pro­duc­tion li­cences as a pre­lude to a ma­jor ex­pan­sion of the in­dus­try.

The re­sult is that 160 coastal com­mu­ni­ties will re­ceive at least NOK 2 bil­lion (al­most £200 mil­lion) in de­vel­op­ment fund­ing.

The Oslo gov­ern­ment de­creed two years ago that those com­mu­ni­ties where fish farms are based should ben­e­fit di­rectly from any new growth plans through a ded­i­cated Aqua­cul­ture Fund, from which money is dis­trib­uted ev­ery Septem­ber.

The gov­ern­ment also in­tro­duced a traf­fic

light sys­tem to de­cide which ar­eas should be the fo­cus of any ex­pan­sion.

The auc­tion was held in Ber­gen over three days in June and in­ter­est was in­tense. Li­cences ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing 15,000 tonnes were up for auc­tion and two thirds of that al­lo­ca­tion was snapped up in un­der two days.

As ex­pected, it was the larger farm­ing com­pa­nies which made most of the run­ning. For ex­am­ple, Ma­rine Har­vest shelled out well over NOK 247 mil­lion to buy li­cences ca­pa­ble of pro­duc­ing 2,960 tonnes.

Nor­way Royal Sal­mon and Cer­maq spent at least NOK 115 mil­lion and NOK 200 mil­lion re­spec­tively.

SalMar, which has been grow­ing at a re­mark­able pace, put up NOK 214 mil­lion for 1,315 new pro­duc­tion li­cences.

But one of the big­gest spenders was the rel­a­tively small fam­ily firm of Lovund­lak, which paid NOK 466 mil­lion to buy 1,850 tonnes of po­ten­tial pro­duc­tion in the Hel­ge­land and Bodø area.

Com­pany chief Ja­cob Palmer Me­land said it was good to know that a large part of the money in­vested would go to those com­mu­ni­ties where farm­ing will take place. Lovund­lak, he added, had many skilled staff who were ca­pa­ble of han­dling the new growth.

Trade min­is­ter Roy An­gelvik said he was pleased that sal­mon farm­ers were show­ing such faith in their in­dus­try by spend­ing a large amount of money to de­velop their busi­nesses.

The auc­tion was also at­tended by Nor­way’s fish­eries min­is­ter Per Sand­berg, who ex­pressed sim­i­lar de­light at the out­come.

‘The gov­ern­ment will fa­cil­i­tate growth in the aqua­cul­ture in­dus­try,’ he said. ‘We are now con­duct­ing an auc­tion of new sal­mon per­mits which will strengthen the econ­omy of our fish­ing com­mu­ni­ties and pro­vide more jobs.’

Above: In­ter­est in new li­cences was in­tense

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