Norway has launched a new permit scheme for opening up so far undeveloped areas suitable for aquaculture. The government said the new scheme has been tailored to meet future environmental challenges.
Fisheries and Seafood Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen made it clear that while the government is keen for the industry to expand, it will have to be under stricter requirements.
Ingebrigtsen said: “We have natural advantages for producing more of the healthy seafood that the world needs.
Therefore, we are proposing a scheme with new environmentally friendly permits that gives the industry the opportunity to use new areas and develop new technology to produce more seafood.”
He believes that production in open cages will continue to be the mainstay of fish farming in Norway, but land-based farming and the development of aquaculture further out to sea also need to be considered.
“With this scheme we are going in a new direction that gives the aquaculture industry the opportunity to use new areas along the coast,” he added.
In the first year, permits will be granted for up to 15,000 tonnes of biomass (MTB).
Each individual applicant can receive a maximum of 10 permits, anchored to strict environmental requirements.
The permits, part of an environmental technology scheme, are in addition to the growth regulated through the current traffic light system.
The Minister added: “Overall, this gives the Norwegian aquaculture industry significant opportunities to increase production in the future. When this comes up for consultation, we will expand the scheme further, and we look forward to receiving many and constructive consultation inputs.”
Minister of Climate and Environment Sveinung Rotevatn said: “The aquaculture industry creates great deal of value for Norway. But further growth must take place within a sustainable framework. Consideration for nature in general, and the wild axis in particular, is of crucial importance.”
The proposals have gone out for consultation with the industry. Meanwhile, Norway goes to the polls on Monday, in a general election that could see a change in government.