Tromsø farm fu­ture in bal­ance af­ter elec­tions

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THE fu­ture of open fish farm­ing in and around the Nor­we­gian city of Tromsø con­tin­ues to hang in the bal­ance af­ter lo­cal elec­tions pro­duced a mixed bag of re­sults.

There were ma­jor gains for both the So­cial­ist left party and the Greens, which are strongly in favour of a to­tal ban on fur­ther open farm­ing, while Labour, which has since taken a more mod­er­ate stance, lost ground.

Un­til the new coun­cil meets and coali­tion al­liances are formed, it is dif­fi­cult to assess if the author­ity will con­tinue with its con­tro­ver­sial pol­icy on aquacultur­e.

But the left lean­ing par­ties would seem to have the edge and much may de­pend on whether Labour, which took the largest share of votes, in­tends to stick to its orig­i­nal pol­icy of al­low­ing open farms, pro­vided they com­ply with cer­tain en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions.

How­ever, there were also gains in both ur­ban and ru­ral ar­eas for the more mod­er­ate Cen­tre Party, which is against a ban. It now holds 14 seats on Tromsø Coun­cil.

Lo­cal elec­tions in Nor­way are di­vided be­tween mu­nic­i­pal or town coun­cils and county au­thor­i­ties and fre­quently pro­duce con­trast­ing re­sults.

Un­like the UK, they sel­dom give full con­trol to a sin­gle po­lit­i­cal party. The turnout in Tromsø was 63.6 per cent.

It was al­most a year ago that Tromsø City Coun­cil shocked the fish farm­ing in­dus­try by an­nounc­ing it only wanted closed land based farms in fu­ture.

Tromsø is Nor­way’s ninth largest city and, with a pop­u­la­tion of 75,000, it covers an area of al­most 1,000 square miles.

The farm ban de­ci­sion was im­me­di­ately at­tacked as ir­re­spon­si­ble by the in­dus­try, which ac­cused the coun­cil of ex­ceed­ing its pow­ers and dam­ag­ing the lo­cal econ­omy.

Lerøy vice pres­i­dent Stig Nilsen said fish farm­ing was one of the most en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly meth­ods of food pro­duc­tion in the world.

Above: Tromsø

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