Production fish, harvesting quality and reputation are the main focus’ during the second day of the trial between Hav Line and the Norwegian government.
The battle is about “Norwegian Gannet”, the much-talked-about combination of a wellboat, processing boat and transportation ship, which transports harvested fish from Norway to Denmark.
In a normal salmon harvest, between two and five percent of the fish are so-called “production fish”, fish with visible damage and wounds. These fish are not allowed to bed exported until error is corrected – in Norway. However, before the ship was put into operation, Hav Line received a derogation from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Ministry of Fisheries. The government has subsequently rejected an extension of the exemption for exporting production fish.
Significant parts of the farmed salmon consumed in Norway are production fish, Hav Line’s lawyer Karl O. Wallevik points out during his case Tuesday morning.
Hav Line’s lawyer team concentrates much of their argument on the fact that the shipping company had put in place all necessary approvals for the processing boat, as well as direct support from the government, well in advance of the boat being delivered.
“Hav Line believes that the focus on fish quality and reputation is emphasised by the government, while the reality is wanting to protect Norwegian jobs. It is an action to divert attention,” says Wallevik.
As the plaintiff builds up the case, the testimony, including stating the impartiality of former Fisheries Minister Harald Tom Nesvik seems to be central.
Nesvik will testify on Monday 4th of May. Later that day, Nesvik’s predecessor and party colleague Per Sandberg will also be in the witness box.
Nesvik was recruited from the job as a social contact at the well boat company Sølvtrans. Wallevik emphasises that Sølvtrans is a competitor of Hav Line, and consequently has interests in this matter.
“Nesvik has returned to Sølvtrans after he resigned as minister,” Wallevik argues.
In November 2017, Nesvik’s predecessor Per Sandberg visited Hirtshals, Denmark where Hav Line and Sekkingstad built the terminal which was to pack and distribute the salmon from the processing boat “Norwegian Gannet”. Quite exactly one year before “Norwegian Gannet” was delivered, Sandberg posed smiling to the media along with, among others, Hjørring Mayor Arne Boelt.
“We had blind trust. Hav Line is owned by solid Norwegian family dynasties, they all had domestic approvals in the back, and they had even been supported with millions of the solid and predictable Norwegian government,” says Arne Boelt to the Danish newspaper Børsen in an article.
Børsen also Tuesday has a full page in their print newspaper on the ongoing trial.
“What we would be making money for over the next 30 years now risks becoming a ghost,” Boelt adds tells the newspaper.