Norway introduces new pollution regulations and minimum aquaculture permit requirements

The current individual permits will be replaced by standardized environmental requirements in the aquaculture operation regulations.
Salmon farm in Norway

Salmon farm in Norway

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The Minister for Fisheries and Oceans and the Minister for Climate and Environment have announced that the Norwegian coastal aquaculture industry will have to meet new pollution regulation requirements.

First, the actual individual permits will be replaced by standardized environmental requirements in the aquaculture operation regulations. "As a general rule, all open fish farming facilities in the sea will therefore be subject to the same environmental requirements," the Minister alerted. Also, new minimum requirements for environmental documentation must be fully completed by new site applications.

Regarding this, Fisheries and Oceans Minister Cecilie Myrseth said: "With these changes, the pollution regulations will become more predictable and the same for breeders. We make the authorities' application processing more efficient - while protecting the environment in the best possible way. It is good news for the industry, which has wanted this change."

In addition, Climate and Environment Minister Andreas Bjelland Eriksen, noted: "Today's emission permits are old, and not necessarily adapted to today's knowledge and technology. We have therefore seen a need to update the requirements for the operation of aquaculture facilities in the sea so that these correspond to a greater extent with environmental requirements that apply to other industries."

More requirements than before

"Environmental monitoring is becoming stricter. The requirements for monitoring and reporting give the authorities a better overview of emissions and the opportunity for closer and more effective follow-up of the environmental condition at the facilities. We also make it clear that those engaged in farming must take measures if investigations show that there is a poor environmental condition. This is a result of the basic principle that polluters pay," Eriksen, explained.

On the other hand, Myrseth alerted: "With less individual case processing, the pollution authorities will be able to operate more efficiently and purposefully, and to a greater extent be able to concentrate their efforts on the more complicated and important pollution cases."

Finally, after two years of the implementation of these new regulations, current emission permits will expire and will be replaced by the statutory standard requirements.

New preliminary investigations on the site.

According to Ellen Hambro, director of the Norwegian Environment Agency: "Better informed applications with more requirements will reduce the number of cases where the state administrator has to request the necessary environmental documentation from the applicant.

"This is a resource and time problem in today's application processing. In addition, the application requirements will ensure the state administrators a better decision-making basis through better mapping of the environmental conditions at the localities," she added.

All of these, Frank Bakke-Jensen clarified, will reduce the undesirable environmental situations happening because of emissions.

The changes have been drawn up in collaboration between the Directorate of Fisheries and the Directorate of the Environment, based on a long and thorough consultation process with affected industry players.

To conclude, the Minister published that the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, and the state administrator will have to coordinate for supervision, management, and enforcement of the rules.

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