Fish farmers appeal case over traffic light system: “The case has a reach far beyond the aquaculture companies”

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25 Western Norway aquaculture companies in Production Area 4 (PO4) are appealing a verdict from March 17. The case will thus be subject to full new proceedings in a Court of Appeal.

“The case concerns the exercise of authority in the form of an invasive decision with large Consequences. The central question remains about the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries met the conditions of the Act and Regulations, and thus had the right to maximum allowed biomass (MAB) in PO4,” said fish farmer spokesman Even Søfteland in a press release.

The aquaculture companies maintain that the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries was in fact missing and legal basis for making a decision on 4 February 2020 concerning the downgrading of MAB. It used resources on effective lice control in PO4, the established lice limits have complied with a good margin and wild salmon stocks in the area have also been increasing recently in the past decade.

“It is regrettable that the District Court failed to make a further assessment of whether there was actually a basis for the intervention. The aquaculture companies assume that the Court of Appeal will exercise real control over the Ministry’s exercise of authority, in line with basic requirements for due process,” said Lawyer Trond Hatland of Thommessen, who is representing the case for aquaculture companies.

The 25 food producers have consistently stressed that they support environmental regulation and produce safe and sustainable food production. What aquaculture companies require is that the traffic light system is used in accordance with the Norwegian government’s requirements and that invasive decisions based on an established actual basis and prudent case processing.

“The fact that the authorities comply with the terms of the Act and Regulations has prudent case management and ensures that a good factual basis is established before an invasive decision is made, concerns really all of us. The case thus has a reach far beyond the aquaculture companies in PO4,” said Søfteland.