Fish farmers in production area 4 have lost another attempt to change the red traffic light listing for the area.

Traffic light stays on red for Norwegian salmonid farmers

Mowi, Lerøy and others lose third court attempt to overturn biomass reduction


A group of salmon and trout farmers including Mowi and Scottish Sea Farms co-owner Lerøy have lost their legal battle to overturn a biomass reduction imposed by Norwegian authorities.

The group of 25 farmers from one of Norway’s 13 fish farming production areas were appealing earlier court decisions that rejected their challenge to the order made under Norway’s “traffic light” system for fish farms.

The traffic light system dictates whether production in a designated area can be increased by 6% (green light), remain the same (orange light) or reduced by 6% (red light), depending on fish farming’s perceived threat to migrating wild salmon smolts.

Defeat after defeat

Fish farmers in production area 4 (PO4) had challenged the basis for a red light reduction imposed on that area in 2020 but lost the case they brought to a district court last year.

An appeal was heard in Gulating Court of Appeal in January, but that too was lost, and the farmers were ordered to pay court costs of NOK 2.5 million.

The farmers then appealed that decision to the Supreme Court, on the grounds that there were errors in the Court of Appeal’s application of law and proceedings.

But yesterday the Supreme Court’s appeals committee unanimously concluded that there is no reason to overturn the Court of Appeal’s judgement.

No Supreme Court appeal

The appeal committee believes that neither the significance of the decision outside the specific case nor other circumstances indicate that the case should be brought before the Supreme Court.

It stated: “The appeal is therefore not allowed to be brought forward.”

The farmers in PO4 have always argued that the decision down reduce production should have been sent for consultation, that the decision results from too poor a data base, and that the decision is both in breach of the constitution and the European Convention on Human Rights, because in their opinion it becomes retroactive.

According to the farmers, the downregulation results in a lost production of between 9,000 and 12,000 tonnes of trout and salmon annually in PO4