Norwegian authority audits Mowi, finds "deviations" from regulations

Mowi is the second salmon farmer to undergo auditing by the Norwegian Food Safety Authority Mattilsynet, which has identified four areas where it says the company has deviated from regulations.
Mowi marine facility in Beitveitnes, Midt Region, Norway.
Mowi marine facility in Beitveitnes, Midt Region, Norway. Photo: Mowi.

In the wake of Norway's production fish crisis, Norway's Food Safety Authority Mattilsynet continues its audit of some of Norway's biggest salmon producers, and has now published the results from its review of Mowi's operations.

In March, we reported on the first of this series of audits, on SalMar. Now comes the turn of the world's biggest salmon producer, Mowi, which was audited by Mattilsynet during 29 February - 21 March 2024.

Announcing its report on 30 April, Mattilsynet says it has uncovered four "deviations" from Norwegian regulations in Mowi's fish farming operations.

"The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has asked Mowi for an explanation of how they plan to correct the deviation, including a time-bound plan for implementation," the announcement reads.

Mowi's "deviations", in more detail

Specifically, the alleged breaches concern systematic management and improvement work, risk management, prevention of deviations and internal control, Mattilsynet announced.

Key issues highlighted by the auditors in the full report include what Mattilsynet describes as "shortcomings" in the company's management processes regarding fish health and welfare, and in risk management for biosecurity and other issues.

"The management system does not reflect how Mowi evaluates and makes decisions about measures, or what risk factors are the basis for these decisions," the auditors state in the Norwegian-language report.

"We cannot see how the risk management processes in their entirety are described in the management system. Observations related to biosecurity and welfare illustrate how shortcomings in risk management have practical consequences," the report notes.

"We do not see that internal goals and reporting at various levels document or emphasize fish welfare beyond survival and mortality," the report also states.

Audits take a close look at Norway's biggest salmon producers, following fish mortality crisis in 2023

The report on Mowi is only the second to be released in a series of audits on Norway's biggest salmon farming companies.

The first of the Mattilsynet audits - on the world's second-largest producer SalMar -- was published in March 2024.

The round of audits has been motivated by the soaring levels of fish mortality observed during 2023 - reaching 62.8 million salmon - accompanied by a 9% surge in the industry's output of so-called "production fish".

Mattilysnet argues that "the largest farmers own the majority of the fish", and thus "Increased attention to improving risk management and internal control among the largest breeding companies could therefore result in improved animal health and welfare for a large number of individuals."

According to the Norwegian authority, a system audit is a systematic and thorough review of the company's internal systems, or parts of them.

"During the audit, we assess whether there is conformity between defined requirements and activities carried out in the company, and the management systems. The Norwegian Food Safety Authority's audit is in addition to the company's own follow-up and internal control."

"When the audit reveals deviations, a description of the findings will also be useful for other companies' internal control design. We expect all breeding companies to follow up and learn from the findings made known through our reports," Mattilsynet states on its website.

Read more on Norway's fish mortality crisis

Mowi marine facility in Beitveitnes, Midt Region, Norway.
What's the deal with Norway’s “production fish” drama?
Mowi marine facility in Beitveitnes, Midt Region, Norway.
Norway records its highest mortality rate of sea-phase salmon

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