An illustration of Ocean Farm 2, an offshore farm being developed by SalMar Aker Ocean. Making offshore farms liable for ground rent tax would enable farmers to offset some of the huge expense of developing the farming method.

Dismay as Norway government chooses NOT to tax offshore salmon projects

Budget move closes the door on rebates for investment further from the coast


Norway’s government has delivered a second tax blow to the country’s fish farmers, by deciding NOT to apply ground rent tax, a.k.a. the salmon tax, to offshore farming projects.

Salmon and trout farmers have spent a year warning of the damage that the 25% extra tax on salmonids farmed in fjords is doing to investment in the sector. But applying the tax to offshore projects would have had the opposite effect, as it would have enabled farmers to offset expenditure/losses on those projects against their profits earned elsewhere.

Industry players, trade bodies and the trade union movement had all called on the government to introduce ground rent tax for offshore aquaculture, stating that it would be beneficial for the further investment.

Deeply disappointed

Expectations had been high that the government would agree, and fisheries and oceans minister Bjørnar Skjæran had maintained for a long time that the clarification would come in the state budget, announced today. Now the clarification has come, but it is not what the industry had expected.

Robert Eriksson: "I am deeply disappointed that the government does not introduce a neutral rent tax for offshore aquaculture. If this continues, I fear that the whole venture will come to a halt."

“I am deeply disappointed that the government does not introduce a neutral rent tax for offshore aquaculture. If this continues, I fear that the whole venture will come to a halt,” Robert Eriksson, chief executive of trade body Seafood Companies told Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site,

Eriksson said seafood companies were now turning their attention to the Storting (Parliament) where the Labour Party-Centre Party government requires support from others to push its budget through.

“Everything indicates that that budget will be landed with SV (Socialist Left Party), and here we urgently ask that they contribute to putting this in place in the negotiations. I understand this may appear like utopia, but we just have to fight on, and we can also hope that the time of wonders is not over,” said Eriksson.

Alternative budgets

“It will also be very important that the bourgeois (right of centre) parties are clear in their policy in this area. I expect them to include ground rent tax for offshore aquaculture in their alternative state budgets, and the expectation is even greater that they will implement it when there is a change of government in 2025.”

The government says that imposing the tax on offshore aquaculture risks costing the state money in offset tax payments in the short-term and driving offshore farmers abroad in the long-term.

“The sea is not a limited national locality in the same way as the Norwegian fjords. Aquaculture at sea can therefore be a more mobile business, depending on the design of the sea cage. In this case, there is a risk that business will move out of Norway after the technological development has been completed.

“It can result in a significant loss of revenue for the state if the companies can be paid the tax value of losses, either on an ongoing basis, as in the ground rent taxes for hydropower and petroleum, or upon eventual cessation, as in the ground rent tax for aquaculture.”

The ground rent tax is applied on top of 22% corporation tax, meaning that Norwegian salmonid farmers pay 47% tax on profits.