Marine Harvest wants in on consolidation

Present restrictions on ownership exclude Marine Harvest from participating in the consolidation process. Present restrictions on ownership exclude Marine Harvest from participating in the consolidation process.
Industry Database

Salmon farming giant Marine Harvest has filed an official complaint against rules that prevent the company from growing any larger in Norway, saying it wants to participate in the consolidation of the industry.

In the coming years, the regulation of Norway’s salmon farming sector will gradually be adapted to the need to secure a sustainable development of the industry. This development is expected to bring about a consolidation of the industry.

But present Norwegian restrictions on ownership exclude Marine Harvest from participating in any consolidation. As a consequence, Marine Harvest has filed a complaint on 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“In our view, the present ownership regulations of the aquaculture industry are outdated,” said Marit Solberg, MD of Marine Harvest Norway AS. “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.”

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% of the total number of licences, and one company is not allowed to acquire more than 25% of all licences.

Marine Harvest Norway today holds 216 standard licences to produce edible fish, which corresponds to about 22% of the total licensed biomass.

“We have 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,” said Solberg.

“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, we have chosen to make use of our right to present today's regulations to ESA for evaluation, and we anticipate the Norwegian government's interest in modernising the regulations.”

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