Norwegian fisheries minister axed in surprise October reshuffle

Bjørnar Skjæran, who has served as Norway's fisheries minister since 2021, was replaced by Cecilie Myrseth on 16 October.
Bjørnar Skjæran, Norway's former fisheries minister.
Bjørnar Skjæran, Norway's former fisheries minister.Photo: Norwegian Government.

In a surprise turn of events on 16 October, Bjørnar Skjæran was removed from his role as Norway's fisheries minister, with Cecilie Myrseth announced as his replacement.

Skjæran was reportedly reluctant to leave his role, but the move came as part of a wider cabinet reshuffle amongst Norway's ruling labour party.

The implementation of the controversial "salmon tax" came under his watch, but despite differences of opinions with industry players, he was reportedly well-respected.

Skjæran had been due to review proposed changes to Norway's "traffic light" aquaculture permits system early next year, but this responsibility will now fall to his successor, the newly-appointed minister Cecile Myrseth.

Myrseth was formerly fisheries policy spokesperson and, like Skjæran, is originally from a fish-farming region. She is a qualified psychologist, and most recently sat on her party's health and welfare committee.

Skjæran will now return to work at the Storting, as parliamentary representative for his Nordland constituency.

Cecilie Myrseth, Norway's new fisheries minister.
Cecilie Myrseth, Norway's new fisheries minister.Photo: Peter Mydske /

Norway's salmon tax: the saga continues

The political reshuffle comes as the implications of Norway's ground rent tax - the so-called "salmon tax" - continue to stir controversy within the country's aquaculture industry.

Most recently, the Norwegian government's silence on how the tax may or may not apply to offshore aquaculture developments, has caused frustration for those hoping for clarification on the potential financial implications for this emerging sector.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian Financial Supervisory Authority Finanstilsynet recently warned some of the biggest salmon farmers for failing to fully report income tax related to the implementation of the new ground rent tax regime in their half-yearly reporting.

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