THE Norwegian branch of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Conservation Organisation – better known as UNESCO – is calling for a meeting with the Oslo government over plans to allow Mowi to develop aquaculture on one of its world heritage sites.

Following a long running dispute and a series of appeals, Mowi was granted official clearance earlier this month to carry out salmon and trout farming in a remote region of northern Norway known as
Rødskjæran on the Vega Islands, an area renowned for its birdlife and as a breeding ground for eider ducks who are renowned for their feathers.

But in the last few days the Norwegian UNESCO Commission has requested a meeting with the Minister of Climate Change over the decision. Its regional director Tora Aasland has expressed her dismay at the decision suggesting it was difficult to understand the rationale behind it. However, it is thought unlikely that the government will row back on its decision.

She said she was both surprised and disappointed that the Ministry of Climate and Environment had ignored environmental advice and as head of the Norwegian UNESCO Commission and was also worried about the way Norway was managing its heritage sites, especially Vega which has many special features.

However, the the project, which will create new jobs in an area where employment is scarce, has the support of local politicians, despite claims by UNESCO and other environmental groups that it will harm its renowned duck population.

But the company described the about-turn as a ‘a good day for Mowi and the municipality of Vega.’

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