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Harald Nesvik enjoyed getting out and about as minister.
Harald Nesvik enjoyed getting out and about as minister.

Norway’s salmon farmers will soon be dealing with a new fisheries and seafood minister following the decision of the Progress Party (FrP) to leave the country’s coalition government.

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The decision means current minister Harald Tom Nesvik, an FrP member, must relinquish the office.

Nesvik, who served as fisheries minister for 526 days, told Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site, Kyst.no, that the news wasn’t a surprise.

The fish farmer's friend

Nesvik was appointed fisheries minister in Erna Solberg's government on August 13, 2018 and just over a year later, on August 30, 2019, he added seafood to his title.

The 53-year-old has been a clear and visible figure in the aquaculture industry since he started the job.

Several in the industry have highlighted, among other things, his presence and commitment to the salmon farmers affected during the algae crisis that hit the industry in 2019.

Nesvik has also travelled extensively to visit different companies in the aquaculture industry, and to work in the companies for a day to gain a better understanding of how they work on a daily basis.

He is also known for having had disagreements with the people behind the Norwegian Gannet factory ship, which takes fish directly from farms to a distribution centre in Denmark.

Nesvik initially demanded that so-called production fish - fish with visible wounds, malformations and similar – must be sorted in Norway, but later granted the vessel a year-long exemption.

Exit on the cards

“It’s been on the cards for a while now. Such is the world of politics. These things come on a regular basis and I have been well prepared,” said Nesvik, who previously worked in a public relations role for the world’s biggest wellboat company Sølvtrans.

The minister says he will continue to work in fisheries and seafood in the future.

“Now it will be a job search for me. It is definitely fisheries and seafood that is closest to my heart, and I will probably continue in some role within the industry,” he told Kyst.no. 

“I’ll see if there are any companies out there that could envisage employing a former fisheries minister.”

Traffic light system

Asked if he might return to Sølvtrans, he said he was going to have all doors open going forward.

Nesvik also told Kyst.no that the main work on Norway’s “traffic light system”, which dictates whether salmon farming can expand in different zones along the coast, is complete and that it is really ready to be implemented. 

“But it is natural that the newcomer will be able to influence this work now. The main part is ready, at least,” he said.

Algae crisis

Asked what he thought would be the biggest traces of his time as minister that he leaves behind in the aquaculture industry, Nesvik said: “It is probably among other things our presence when the algae crisis hit the aquaculture industry. 

“I have also met all these wonderful people in the industry, and been able to join work in many companies. We have also done a great deal of groundwork on building regulations related to the future fisheries and aquaculture industry.”

Nesvik is quite clear that one of his favourite things in his job is to be out in the field with ordinary workers.

“It is not in an office in Oslo where you create tomorrow’s values,” he said.

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