Discussion: Aquaculture needs a lot of capital for innovation and new technology to solve the challenges we face. However, sustainable development is not emphasized at all in the government’s tax proposal.
CEO Grieg Seafood ASA
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On the contrary, many of the innovations that were about to gain momentum in the industry are getting caught in the wheels.
We must reduce our ecological footprint and ensure coexistence with other species. We will improve the welfare of the fish. We will develop more sustainable feed, reduce climate emissions and recycle resources.
Try and fail
Since we are at the forefront of the world in developing food production at sea, it will take a lot of capital and significant investment in the full three-year salmon production cycle to get the sustainable development we need. Where no one has done it before, it takes a lot of trial and error to get it right, and since we work with live animals, we have to innovate incrementally and responsibly. The green transition we’re going through is not emphasized at all in the government’s tax proposal, though.
It’s a shame to go back to the future in this way.
But it cannot be avoided that the land rent tax as proposed will have a significant impact on the sustainable development of aquaculture. When 16-17 billion companies are withdrawn And in the state, we will have much less equity left over for innovation, new technology and improvement projects. This means that the pace of green transformation in the industry has decreased significantly.
Nor does the current scheme layout promote sustainability, improve biology and fish welfare, or have low environmental impact. Development concessions, which contribute to new technologies such as closed factories, are no longer profitable.
Research and development costs, which are necessary to find new solutions, must not be deducted from taxes as we can with other costs. At Grieg Seafood, we’ve long invested in beyond smolt for sustainable growth, which means we keep fish longer on land and shorter time spent at sea. The results so far are increased survival, improved lice control, and reduced need for lice removal—and we’re not even halfway there. It is uncertain whether this project, which is capital intensive to implement, would still be profitable with the proposed ground rent levy. The cuts, which should theoretically make investments “neutral”, are unfortunately not relevant to the majority of large planned investments that will improve the biology and sustainability of the industry. It’s a shame to go back to the future in this way.
Prepare to contribute
Aquaculture has the will to contribute more to society. So far, we have paid the rent for the land through excise duty and auctions, in addition to the regular taxes and fees, and have the capacity to pay more. But it must happen in a way that goes beyond investments, sustainable conversion, and activity in Norwegian coastal communities to the greatest extent possible.
I myself grew up on a farm in Ryfylke and the family is currently in the fruit and cider production. In farming, it has always been important to hand over the farm to the next generation in a better condition, which requires continuous investment. This is equally important in aquaculture. Therefore, I hope that politicians in the Norwegian Parliament will take the time to find a better balance between income for society and sustainable development than is currently on the table.
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