Subscription 790/year or 190/quarter

Salmon war on all fronts

Norwegian salmon has been at war with aggressive Americans, Europeans and Russians since 1991. There will hardly be any lasting peace for a while.


The salmon was to save Norwegian coastal communities. The fish that the markets are screaming for, and which previously achieved adventurous prices and gave investors dollar signs in their eyes. The Norwegian coast is well suited for farming, and the long coastline also makes the opportunities for growth great. Precisely these adventurous opportunities to increase production have been what repeatedly bite Norwegian farming in the tail. They can not help but give "ban torment" when the opportunities open up. It is quantity rather than quality that governs most people.

And it has been Norwegian salmon that has been dominant on the world market ever since the salmon and trout farms gained momentum in the eighties.

The salmon has gained a solid name and reputation as the free, fresh and powerful red fish that throws up steep waterfalls. This rumor that the wild salmon has created has the breeders freely and freely transferred to the salmon swimming in the marshes. The farmed salmon has never been wild and it never gets the chance to throw around in the rivers.

Norwegian salmon farming has struggled with claims about fish having too high values ​​of heavy metals – and not least a recurring ability to flood the markets with cheap salmon.

In Norway, 2005 tonnes of salmon were slaughtered in 567.000. This represents 45 per cent of total world production. With such a strong position in the world market, Norway will stand by every time the industry comes under a critical light. And the situation has been difficult many times.

Ever since 1991, Norway has been in constant conflict with the largest buyers of salmon – with the exception of Japan and the Asian market. It all started in 1991 when the United States introduced punitive tariffs on Norwegian farmed salmon. The background was that the Americans believed that Norwegian salmon was dumped on the American market. The US market has since been insignificant for Norwegian breeders. They will not enter the market again after, among other things, Chile took over. Since the mid-nineties, Norway has been in constant conflict with the EU and EU fish farmers who believe that Norwegian fish farmers dump salmon on the EU market. The latest dispute is the disagreement with Russia over the content of heavy metals in Norwegian salmon – a dispute that caused the Russians to stop all imports of fresh fish from Norway.

The conflict with Russia may go towards a solution, but what is the real background for the allegations is difficult to see today – with Norwegian eyes.

The salmon industry has long struggled to convince critics that the salmon is running out of health, and the industry has so far failed to meet critics properly.

What amazes many is the unique agreement between the Norwegian authorities and the Norwegian aquaculture industry that "we" are not to blame. The United States, the European Union and Russia are to blame for the repeated allegations of everything from unhealthy fish to overproduction.

The Norwegian authorities have their pigs in the forest here as well, since they choose to open all locks when opportunities for increasing production are opened, rather than regulating this industry so as to avoid the accusations of overproduction. When the EU opened for free trade in Norwegian salmon in May 2003, the Bondevik government chose to celebrate this with new salmon licenses and end all feed quotas. The result did not fail. The salmon fell into the EU and the price fell. That is why the EU said to stop again in August 2004.

Norwegian authorities and Norwegian breeders have shown a rare greed when doing anything to secure larger shares of the world market. In Norway, there is only talk about quantity, and very little about what can make salmon better and more "edible". The aquaculture industry and the authorities have not shown interest in the organic salmon. There is a growing market for this. With more focus on health and wellness, the Norwegian farmed salmon will be able to get some of the original back. Today, this salmon is an industrial product that does not escape heavy metal accusations.

You may also like