Court overturns decision to dock “Norwegian Gannet” over processing permits

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New twist in harvest vessel case.

A Norwegian Court has stated that the Ministry of Trade and Industry has interpreted the Food Act and the Quality Regulations incorrectly. The court has decided on a temporary injunction that overrides the Ministry’s decision to stop Hav Lines “Norwegian Gannet”.

On Monday, the Minister of Fisheries had decided to put the breaks on Hav Line’s groundbreaking project, “Norwegian Gannet”, over a technicality. The consequences would have been dramatic and Hav Line went to Bergen District Court to get a temporary injunction.

“In summary, NFD has interpreted Section 17 of the Quality Regulations in violation of the Food Act and its purpose,” wrote the court.

New hope
“This was incredibly good news for us. This gives new hope for the largest climate innovation in the Norwegian aquaculture industry and stops the destruction of one hundred Norwegian jobs and one billion investment in Bergen,” said Carl-Erik Arnesen, CEO of Hav Line, to SalmonBusiness.

The ship “Norwegian Gannet” vessel is designed to process fish straight from the cages so that they can be harvested on board. The boat will go between fish pens in western Norway to a brand new fishing terminal in Hirtshals, Denmark. The plan was ready to go within weeks.

“The politicians ask the industry to innovate and take climate responsibility. “Norwegian Gannet” removes 200 road vehicles from the road every week and greatly increases the quality of the product. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the County Governor’s environmental department have expressed their support, as well as the central research environment and environmental protection organizations. It was a big shock that the Minister of Fisheries chose to go against all this expertise. We are pleased that the court sees it the same way,” said Arnesen.

“Now we hope the politicians follow up, take responsibility and ensure that the project develops further,” he added.

Incorrect
The Norwegian Food Safety Authority, which is the ministry’s professional body, believes that the elimination of transport of live fish, the use of slaughterhouse, and fewer and more gentle handling of the fish entails a significantly better fish welfare, a sharp reduction in the risk of disease spread, emissions and escape. Furthermore, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority believes that improved fish welfare, handling and improved cooling will have a positive effect on meat quality and durability.

The court supported both the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s decision and Hav Line’s interpretations.

“The court believes that it is most likely that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s interpretation of the Quality Regulations section 17 of the decision of November 5, 2018 is correct, and that the decision of the NFD of December 3, 2018 is incorrect. One consequence of this is that Hav Line is in the same situation as before NFD’s decision was made. The court is therefore assuming that Hav Line can transport processing fish to Denmark,” wrote the district court.