Marine Harvest seeks permission to participate in consolidation of Norwegian salmon farming

October 12, 2010 10:16

In the coming years, the regulation of the Norwegian salmon farming industry will gradually be adapted to the need to secure a sustainable development of the industry, reports www.megafishnet.com with reference to Marine Harvest.

This development is expected to bring about a consolidation of the industry. The present Norwegian restrictions on ownership exclude Marine Harvest from participating in this consolidation process. As a consequence, Marine Harvest has filed a complaint on today's restrictions on ownership to EFTA's surveillance authority, ESA.

The complaint specifies that the current regulation is in violation with article 31 and Article 40 of the EEA-agreement - In our view, the present ownership regulations of the aquaculture industry are outdated. The regulation also, for all practical purposes, apply to one company only and thereby distort competition. The Government's strategy for a sustainable aquaculture industry and the ongoing transition to production in larger zones, could lead to a need for a consolidation of the industry.

The present restrictions on ownership exclude Marine Harvest from participating in this consolidation process. We want to contribute actively in securing a sustainable development of this industry and, consequently, we would like to participate in this consolidation process. Therefore, we have filed a complaint on today's restrictions on ownership to ESA, says Marit Solberg, Managing Director of Marine Harvest Norway AS.

The regulations of ownership of licences for the farming of salmon and trout in Norway, is established in separate rules of regulations. According to these rules, a company has to apply to the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs for a permission to acquire more than 15 percent of the total number of licences, and one company is not allowed to acquire more than 25 percent of all licences.

Marine Harvest Norway AS today holds 216 standard licences to produce edible fish, which corresponds to about 22 percent of the total licensed biomass.  The company has seen many changes within this industry since the restrictions on ownership were approved in 2005. The sustainability challenges are more prominent, the industry has grown and become more international, and Marine Harvest of today was not even established when the current regulations were discussed. In our opinion, the present regulations restrict a development of the industry towards larger entities which can secure a sustainable development of the industry.

As a consequence, the company has chosen to make use of its right to present today's regulations to ESA for evaluation, and anticipates the Norwegian Government's interest in modernising the regulations, Solberg says. For further information, please contact:
Jorgen Christiansen, Communication Director, Tel: +47 913 13 199

About Marine Harvest

Marine Harvest is the world's leading seafood company and largest producer of farmed salmon, with presence in 19 countries and about 4 800 employees worldwide. The company is headquartered in Oslo, Norway, and is listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange.
Please see http://www.marineharvest.com/

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