A CONTROVERSIAL decision by Tromsø City council last month to ban any further open fish farming inside its municipal zone may yet be overturned.
The Labour party on the council, which makes up the largest political group inside a largely left leaning coalition, has said it will now look again at the ruling, which stipulates that any new fish farms should be enclosed or based on land.
Labour leader Jarle Heitmann told iTromsø, the northern Norwegian city’s main newspaper, that he had listened to objections from the fish farming industry and had taken on board comments that much of the technology for total closed farms was still in the development stage.
He said he would hold a party conference on the issue after members had met representatives from the aquaculture industry.
‘We do want to learn more,’ he told iTromsø. ‘We agree, along with the industry, that there must be environmental considerations, but we may have to find solutions other than demanding that all new plants should be enclosed.’
Marit Bærøe, regional manager for Seafood Norway’s Department for Aquaculture in the north of the country , said she was pleased that the party was reconsidering its stance.
‘It is very, very positive,’ she added. ‘It has been scary to us that local politicians are sitting with such negative attitudes towards an industry that is very important (economically).’
Immediately after the city council’s decision in November, there was a major backlash from the industry and national (mainly conservative) politicians.
Fisheries minister Harald Tom Nesvik said it sent out all the wrong signals to future investors, while Norway Royal Salmon, which had been planning further investment to build a new salmon waste facility in Tromsø, warned it may have to reconsider that decision.
Picture: Norwegian fisheries minister Harald Tom Nesvik