Salmon farming giant Grieg Seafood is putting all investment decisions on hold in Norway following a government proposal to increase taxes on salmon and trout farming companies by 40 percent.

The proposed tax, which must still be approved by the Norwegian Parliament, would take effect beginning in the 2023 tax year and will be applied to companies producing more than 4,000 or 5,000 metric tons.

"We will spend time looking at the proposal," Kristina Furnes, global communications manager at Grieg Seafood, told IntraFish. "In the meantime, we are putting all investment decisions on hold in Norway."

While the company feels an obligation to give back to the communities in which it farms its salmon, and supports the existing production tax, there are concerns the new tax will "weaken the will to invest," said Furnes.

The government proposal to increase taxes is causing uproar and confusion across the country's salmon farming industry.

"It is clear that we are very concerned about the type of ground rent taxation that has been proposed today," said Furnes.

"We are concerned that it will weaken the will to invest, the competitiveness and the potential of Norwegian aquaculture, where we are a world leader and where we have every opportunity to continue to be so under the right conditions."

She added that the proposal is technical and the company will have to spend time to fully understand the implications.

"I have the impression that everyone is wondering what this really means. I would like to think that in a couple of weeks you will have more clarity.

Grieg Seafood had an incredibly strong three months to June 30, with record prices and good biological performance resulting in the salmon producer's best-ever quarter.

Operational earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) stood more than 22 times higher year-on-year at NOK 985.8 million (€101 million/$100.2 million) as the company accelerated its harvests to take advantage of rocketing market prices.

"We are not opposed to giving back so that we can use the sea areas for part of the production cycle, through a production fee," said Furnes.

"We are for that, but what is important here is that we get a totality that enables us to preserve an aquaculture industry that is world-leading and that is constantly developing in that direction - and that is constantly investing in local communities and increasingly environmentally friendly technology."