Former Conservative fisheries minister Geir Inge Sivertsen expects to back in a position of influence as mayor of Senja after Norway's governing Labour and Centre parties suffered losses in local elections.

Ex-fisheries ministers profit from voter backlash against Norway’s salmon tax


Two former Conservative fisheries ministers are poised for new positions of power in Norway after local elections saw a swing against the left-leaning government in coastal communities.

The two governing parties, the Labour Party (Ap) and the Centre Party (Sp), who have introduced a 25% extra tax on salmonid farmers, suffered a sharp decline in many of the aquaculture municipalities in Norway in the municipal polls.

In Senja, the third largest aquaculture municipality, Sp’s share of the vote slipped by 13.4 percentage points and the Conservative share increased by 4.7 percentage points.

Former fisheries minister Geir Inge Sivertsen – who was forced to quit that role after just 39 days because of a severance pay scandal - is top of the Conservative Party’s list in Sena and believes his chances of becoming mayor are good.

“We are now the largest party in Senja,” he told Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site, “There will be demanding negotiations after the election, but I consider the chances of forming a majority and thus becoming mayor quite likely.”

Cool fury

Meanwhile, Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, who succeeded Sivertsen as fisheries minister, will be the new mayor of Bodø after the Conservative Party won almost 35% of the vote, twice as much as its main competitor Ap.

Ingebrigtsen believes that the Conservative Party’s victory in the north is due to a protest against the government’s salmon tax.

“The surprise attack on the coastal industry has created a cool fury that has simmered beneath the surface. Here, people have a close relationship with their local businesses. People react strongly. The farming industry must pay more tax, but the way it happened was unacceptable,” he said in an interview with news outlet VG.

Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen, who will be the new mayor of Bodø: "The farming industry must pay more tax, but the way it happened was unacceptable," he said.