This week, a poll in IntraFish's Norwegiansister publication Fiskeribladet found that more than 50 percent of those surveyed supported the introduction of the new tax on the country's salmon farmers.

For those who haven't been paying attention, in September the Norwegian government proposed the introduction of a 40 percent ground rent tax on salmon and trout farming companies. The tax is set to take effect in 2023 and will be applied to production volumes above 4,000 or 5,000 metric tons.

If passed through Parliament, the proposal will take the total tax rate for salmon and trout farming to 62 percent.

But given the sheer amount of cash the salmon farmers have been raking in over recent years, is anyone actually surprised at this development?

Super profits

When Gerhard Alsaker, the owner of one of Norway's largest privately held salmon farms, boasted that he had to get up early to spend all the money he earned, he gave the country's politicians every excuse they needed to make their tax raid.

The ill-judged statement was not the first to come out of the mouth of one of the country's salmon millionaires -- last year, the owner of the Firda Seafood group, Ola Braanaas, stated that he was not happy earning just €100,000 ($99,000) a day.

And when the same farmer threatened to quit the industry in protest of the salmon tax (on the day it was announced his personal fortune had doubled to reach €100 million ($99 million), you can imagine that it might have been hard for his fellow citizens to relate to his plight.

Then there was Austevoll boss Helge Mogster's comment to Dagens Næringsliv that the country's billionaires had been living in a "war zone" since former Prime Minister Erna Solberg came to power. With a real war now raging on the continent, this kind of hyperbolic rhetoric sounds more tin-eared than ever.

Idyllic Austevoll, Norway's 11th richest municipality. Photo: Marthe Njåstad

Given this history of boorish and tone-deaf whining, it is perhaps not surprising that the salmon tycoons have struggled to attract much sympathy. Most people, it seems, simply believe it is reasonable to expect the industry to contribute more to the community.

The basic rent proposal has nevertheless caused an uproar on the coast, and many Center Party mayors have come out against their own party leadership. In response to this, it looks as if the finance minister may tweak the proposal. But with two out of three party supporters on board with the ground rent tax, opponents in the party look set to struggle.

Latte-sipping hipsters

Few will be surprised that support for the tax in the country's Labor Party is massive, with 75 percent of its voters agreeing that the industry needs to be taxed more heavily.

More unexpected, perhaps, is that a large proportion of conservative voters also support the ground rent proposal. The right has traditionally had strong support both from coastal areas and the business community. Nevertheless, the party is roughly split down the middle on this issue.

The salmon farming industry has attempted to portray supporters of the tax as a bunch of latte-sipping hipsters who have never left Oslo. They claim that the issue represents a fault line between the coast and the capital. Unfortunately for salmon farmers, this has been shown not to be true.

Just 30 percent of the respondents are against the ground rent tax. The rest don't just live in the big cities, and there are fewer of them to be found in Oslo's achingly hip Grünerløkka neighborhood than the farmers would have you believe.

The people have spoken, and public sympathy for the Alsakers, Braanaas and Mogsters of this world is running thin. Vox populi, vox Dei.