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The Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries has announced that it is temporarily halting the possibility of applying for permits for land-based aquaculture until new regulations are in place. The reason for this temporary shutdown is that there are several applications and permits granted where the concept on which the submitted projects are based has a close connection to the sea. The government understands that this shows a technological development that was not foreseen when the current regulations for land-based aquaculture were introduced and “challenges the regulations’ clear distinction between aquaculture in the sea and aquaculture on land”.

Temporary suspension for 6 months

“There has been significant technological development within concepts that seek permission for aquaculture production on land. This indicates that the industry is innovative and growing rapidly. However, we see that there is a need for clearer frameworks for what is to be considered aquaculture on land, as opposed to aquaculture in the sea”, says Norway’s Minister of Fisheries and Oceans, Bjørnar Skjæran.

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The temporary shutdown has been implemented immediately and will apply until new regulations regarding land-based aquaculture are introduced. In the first instance, the stoppage has been set at 6 months, although the ministry has already said that it will apply until the changes are determined. However, in the press release, the Norwegian Ministry of Industry and Fisheries has also informed that it is already working to design a set of regulations that take into account these technological challenges and will be submitted for consultation shortly.

The traffic light system, affected

According to the ministry, the majority of land-based aquaculture applications currently in the county municipalities for processing are based on seawater flow. As of now, the county municipality will not be able to receive new land-based aquaculture applications for some time until these new regulations are approved. However, applications already being processed by the county council will be managed in the usual manner, as will complaints to the Directorate of Fisheries.

“The traffic light system creates growth within a sustainable framework for farming in the sea. When permission is given for aquaculture on land for a facility with a close connection to the sea, such facilities can affect the sea and sea-based breeders’ opportunity for growth within the traffic light system”, Skjæran claims. “For the sake of the environment and other farming activities in the sea, it is important that we avoid this “, he concludes.

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