Eight out of 10 consultation responses oppose Norway’s salmon tax
Result reflects the public debate over issue, says Seafood Norway
Nearly eight out of 10 non-anonymous responses to the Norwegian government’s consultation about imposing a 40% tax on farmed salmon and trout oppose the idea, according to Sjømat Norge (Seafood Norway), a national association for the fishing and aquaculture industry.
In total, 416 municipalities and county municipalities, interest organisations, industry associations and private individuals have given their opinion on the “resource rent” tax for aquaculture.
Sjømat Norge has now gone through 335 of the consultation responses, discounting input from anonymous private individuals.
The organisation’s review, carried out by two university students, shows that 262 of the responses (78%), are negative to the tax proposal, 27 (8%) are positive, while 46 (almost 14%) are more neutral, according to news service NTB.
Large majority are negative
“The report shows that a large majority are negative to all or parts of the government’s proposed ground rent tax. To a large extent, the hearing reflects the public debate that has raged in the wake of the launch last year,” said Sjømat Norge’s head of business policy Peder Weidemann Egseth.
The resource tent tax proposal was announced in September 2022 and led to many salmon farmers immediately freezing investment plans until they know more about how the tax will work and how much impact it will have on earnings.
An unforeseen side effect has been the erosion of the fixed price market because of the lack of clarity about how farmers will be charged. The initial proposal stated that taxable income would be calculated on an average of the spot price, but this is generally higher than farmers would get for fixed price contracts, or for downgraded fish. This led them to fear that they would be taxed on income they didn’t earn in the first place. As a result, they have shunned fixed price contracts in favour of selling their fish on the spot market.
This in turn has impacted secondary processors, who can no longer agree contracts with farmers and have issued redundancy notices to hundreds of employees.
The tax will be retrospectively applied from the beginning of 2023, even though the final proportion of income to be taxed and the mechanisms for the tax won’t be finalised until later this year. The tax must also be approved by Norway’s parliament, the Storting.