THE Chinese Veterinary Authority has lifted its long standing ban on salmon imports from three county regions in northern Norway.
The move now means that almost all Norwegian companies can export to what they see as potentially their most important growth market, although sales to China are still relatively small.
The doors had been closed to fish slaughtered on farms in the Nordland, Trøndelag and Troms areas for the past three years, ostensibly for health and safety reasons, with the Chinese fearing infectious salmon anaemia and other diseases.
The all-clear was given in a letter a few days ago from the Chinese Veterinary Authority to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.
It means that the final trade barrier for the sale of Norwegian salmon to the Chinese market has been removed. Shares in a number of companies with farms in those areas rose on the Oslo stock exchange after the news.
Fisheries minister Per Sandberg was on holiday in Denmark when the announcement came through, but said the breakthrough had happened sooner than expected. He said it was good news for the industry and he expected solid growth to follow.
‘I was in China at the end of May and I am sure this will now work well for both countries,’ he added.
Industry and fisheries secretary Roy Angelvik said there were great opportunities for the companies in the three regions, which accounted for 40 per cent of Norway’s total salmon production.
It was now up to those businesses to take full advantage of the new situation. He pointed out that despite all the excitement when Beijing lifted the export ban 18 months ago, China was still little more than one per cent of total Norwegian salmon production.
Picture: Norwegian fisheries minister Per Sandberg