Minister hoping for new talks with Russians on Norwegian salmon and trout imports ban via Belarus

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“We cannot act on the basis of allegations. We have to act on the basis of facts,” said Minister of Fisheries and Seafood minister Harald T. Nesvik.

Just before Christmas, SalmonBusiness was the first publication to report on an official letter to Belarus from Russian veterinary authorities who expressed concern about the quality of Norwegian exported salmon and trout.

The Russians claimed they had repeatedly found banned and harmful substances in fish products made from Norwegian raw materials forwarded to Russia.

During Christmas, Russia moved to halt imports of Norwegian salmon and trout via Belarus – which has evolved to become Norway’s largest buyer of trout. 97 per-cent of the fish is reported to Russia. The ban will take place from the 9th of January.

Norway’s Minister of Fisheries and Seafood Harald T. Nesvik told NRK that the ministry has contacted Belarusian authorities for information on which banned and harmful substances they believe have been found in Norwegian fish. The Ministry has also have tried to enter into dialogue with both Belarusian and Russian authorities, without much success, but Nesvik is hoping for new talks.

“We cannot act on the basis of allegations. We have to act on the basis of facts,” he told the Norwegian public service broadcaster.

The Food Safety Authority told SalmonBusiness in December that they were not aware of repeated findings of dangerous and harmful substances in Norwegian salmon and trout, and that they were planning the visitation program for 2020 so that Russian veterinary authorities could come to inspections of Norwegian fish processing companies.