SalMar boss: “The aquaculture industry is very mobile”

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SalMar chief Gustav Witzøe once again warns against competition from land based salmon farmers.

Before Christmas, Gustav Witzøe ruled against the proposal put forward by government appointed committee, wanting 40 pct. tax on Norwegian aquaculture.

Last year during the annual conference of The Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise(NHO), Witzøe repeatedly criticized the tax. The SalMar CEO wants the aquaculture industry to pay the same tax as the rest of the business sector in Norway.

Witzøe believes a possible salmon tax will increase investment abroad and claims that the aquaculture industry “is very mobile”.

“The company that received the greatest value increase in 2019 was a land based farming company in Miami, USA. In other words, there is no immobility,” says Witzøe to Finansavisen.

The company that Witzøe discusses is the Atlantic Sapphire, which SalmonBusiness referred to as a stock exchange winner in November. Atlantic Sapphire plan to harvest 220,000 tonnes of salmon by 2031, which is equivalent to half of all salmon consumption in the United States.

Witzøe has previously stated that he wants the price of Norwegian salmon to be lowered so the industry is able to compete with land based farms in the US and China.

Last year, the Norwegian trade organization Seafood Norway also warned that the aquaculture industry in Norway is highly exposed to competition.

“We are looking at billions of dollars being invested in land based salmon production in countries such as the United States, the Arab Emirates, China and South Africa. In Norway, too, there are a large number of new projects on their way,” wrote Seafood Norway in November.

“If the Norwegian answer is to execute and make an extreme tax reform, it will push forward investors who wish to invest outside of Norway. Then the Norwegian aquaculture industry will end up as it did with the textile industry. It was faded out,” said Sea Food Norway chief Geir Ove Ystmark at a point.

Professor Mads Greaker at Oslo Metropolitan University, who, on behalf of the Aquaculture Tax Committee, has figured out the basics for the aquaculture industry over the past three years, doubts any tax reform will prevent investment in the aquaculture industry.