Shipping company Hav Line Group receives a ten-year dispensation from the Norwegian fish quality regulations’ provision on production fish.
“Production fish” are fish with defects or deficiencies. According to the fish quality regulations, such fish must be sorted and the errors corrected before it is shipped out of Norway.
“The provision on production fish is fixed, and the dispensation to Hav Line is a very special case. Based on a new overall assessment, we have concluded that Hav Line will receive a dispensation. We hope it will provide stability for the company and for the employees,” said Minister of Fisheries, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, in a press release.
Hav Line’s dispensation applies until 1 December 2030.
“In the assessment, we have emphasized the “Norwegian Gannet”‘s innovative solutions and the possibility of moving goods from road to sea. We have also taken into account that Hav Line has invested large sums of money at a time when there may have been room for interpretation doubts about the requirement for domestic sorting,” said Ingebrigtsen.
Got temporary exemption
The quality regulations shall contribute to fish of poor quality not ending up in the market.
“Norwegian seafood is of high quality, and it is important that we maintain the good reputation that Norwegian fish has abroad,” said Ingebrigtsen.
On 16 May 2019, the Hav Line Group received a temporary exemption from the fish quality regulations’ provision on production fish. The dispensation initially lasted until 1 July 2020, and applied to the harvesting boat «Norwegian Gannet».
Hav Line applied for an extension of the dispensation, but was refused last year. Hav Line appealed this refusal.
The Ministry has made a new assessment in the appeal process, and upheld Hav Line. The temporary dispensation is processed independently of the case that is to be processed in the Court of Appeal.
In the assessment, it has been important for the ministry to safeguard the purpose of the fish quality regulations. At the same time, it has been taken into account that “Norwegian Gannet” is a special case. The dispensation is therefore granted subject to several conditions during the dispensation period.
“Norwegian Gannet” can only deliver unsorted farmed Norwegian fish to a processing site in Hirtshals, Denmark, which is run by the Hav Line Group or its group company. Hav Line Group must also report monthly to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority on how much Norwegian fish is sorted and corrected incorrectly.
The case that was heard in Bergen District Court in the spring of 2020 concerned the validity of the regulatory change that the ministry adopted in the spring of 2019, and of the royal resolution from June 2019. The verdict was appealed by both parties, and the case will be re-examined in Gulating Court of Appeal in June.
“In connection with the processing of the appeal case, we have had a dialogue with Hav Line about the lawsuit. We have agreed that it is not in either party’s interest to use additional resources to try the case in the court system,” said Ingebrigtsen.
The final decision on the appeals will be made after the appeal deadline for the ministry’s decision has expired. The deadline for complaints is three weeks.