Remote county wins out, as Marine Harvest and many others buy permits to grow more fish at existing facilities across Norway
The north-Norwegian County of Troms — population 165,632 — has reported that 15 of its 16 locally ensconced salmon-producers have sought permission to expand their grow-outs.
Among them is Marine Harvest, which will pay 168 million kroner (EUR 17.6 million) for expanded biomass in license area across Norway, after a January 31st deadline to buy increased maximum biomass allowances ran out.
“We have operations in many areas that given the green light, and we have chosen to buy growth where possible. This opportunity makes it possible for the industry to grow in a sustainable way where defensible,” said Marine Harvest managing director for Norway, Per-Roar Gjerde.
Nearly all grower
The resulting interest was a vote of confidence for Oslo’s decision at year-end to allow companies to apply for increased allowances for 2018 and 2019. In arctic county Troms, a biomass increase of six percent was set out, although under a strict new “traffic light” system, companies in areas colored green on Fisheries Directorate maps would first be allowed to seek a two-percent increase and coming license auctions would account for the rest.
The County said it would look at biomass increases of four percent for companies able to document exceptionally “good environmental conditions” around sites where they now operate. Four companies have asked to show their green credentials in exchange for increased allowances.
“For the municipalities and the county (the interest in more biomass) will mean funds to better accommodate industrial development along the coast,” Troms Culture and Commerce councilor, Sigrid Ina Simonsen said in a statement.
Among the 15 companies looking to increase their biomass allowance in Troms alone was Marine Harvest Norway, which sought a 140-tonne increase; SalMar Nord (266 t) and Leroy Aurora which sought an expanded biomass allowance of 329 t.
In all, both little and large companies sought stocking increases that would, if all were granted, total about 2,000 t of production in Troms alone. Some 10 or so other districts in Norway, suggesting a future production ripple of perhaps 20,000 t to add to the country’s national yearly salmon production of about 1.2 million t.
Troms is part of a northern-Norway region now representing real growth opportunity for Norway’s 160 “active” fish-farming outfits (out of 210) looking hard for growth opportunities under Oslo’s new “traffic light” system which partly hems in growth over large swathes of southern and central Norway due largely to sea lice concerns.
Of interest to Scots and Chileans now contemplating a new license regime, 80 percent of proceeds from the sale of expanded allowances will be retained in an aquaculture fund (akin to Norway’s successful carbon-dioxide and nitrogen-oxide funds) to be apportioned out to townships that already host aquaculture.