THE Norwegian government has appointed a special committee made up of leading financial and economic experts to work out how the country’s aquaculture industry should be taxed in future years.
Finance minister Siv Jensen said the committee will assess how the tax system should be designed to help the community get a share from the considerable sums that are now being made from fish farming.
But she stressed that any new system should be structured in such a way that companies continue to receive incentives to make new investment decisions.
‘Norway is one of the few places in the world where climate conditions naturally facilitate the efficient farming of salmon and trout in the sea,’ she said.
‘Since the beginning of the 1970s, the Norwegian aquaculture industry has developed strongly, making the country the world’s largest producer and exporter of Atlantic salmon.’
The group is being headed by economics professor Karen Helene Ulltveit-Moe, from the University of Oslo, who is supported by at least two other professors, along with advocates and civic experts.
Many of Norway’s more remote coastal communities are already receiving large sums from the auction of new fish farming licences, but it is thought the Oslo group will now look at the industry’s overall tax structure
However, the industry is wary. Geir Ove Ystmark, CEO of Seafood Norway, which represents both fishing and fish farming companies, said the last thing such a forward looking industry needed was a ‘devastating tax system’ that weakened innovation and slowed down investment.
But he said he was pleased that a thoroughly professional investigation was being carried out into the tax issue.
Picture: Geir Ove Ystmark, CEO of Seafood Norway