Around 90 % of the frozen and smoked salmon sold worldwide is ocean-farmed Atlantic Salmon. Norway is by far the largest producer, churning out 1,4 million tons each year, 95% of which is exported. The sector is rapidly rising, and both the private sector and public authorities want expansion. Norway isn’t a EU member, so to facilitate trade Norwegian companies adopt an unscrupulous strategy: they open offices in north European EU-member countries and seek licenses to farm.
But as efforts at finding ways to expand continue, more problems come in. On the one side, there’s the environmental concern. Salmon farming is one of the most harmful aquaculture production systems, as it releases vast amounts of organic pollution and strains significantly the marine ecosystem. In addition, sea lice recently proliferated on salmon farms and spread to surrounding waters, putting wild salmons at risk of being infected. All this has prompted fierce protests from both environmental groups and political parties, both in Norway and abroad.
On the other side, there’s the legal aspect. According to a report from del Fridtjof Nansen Institute, the current legislation ruling salmon farming activities is at odds with constitution, as it does not ensure the citizens’ rights - provided by the Constitution - to maintaining the wild salmon’s diversity and production capacity.