A group of salmon farmers in Western Norway appealing a federal government decision forcing them to reduce production capacity under the country's "traffic light system" has lost its court battle.

The group of 25 farmers sued the Norwegian government after being given a "red light" in 2020, and forced to reduce production capacity by 6 percent.

Under the traffic light system, Norway is divided into 13 production areas that are colored every other year based on sea lice levels and their impact on wild salmon populations.

Production capacity is then adjusted by 6 percent upwards if designated green or downwards if red. If yellow, the capacity is frozen.

The ruling handed down May 3 applied to the fish farmers in what's known as production area 4, which extends from Nordhordland to Stadt. The farmers lost in a district court in March 2021, but appealed the ruling.

The extensive appeal, which was heard in the Appellate Court (Gulating) in Bergen, was rejected, with the Norwegian government being awarded legal costs as part of the process.

The fish farming companies must now pay Norway's Ministry of Trade and Industry just over NOK 2.5 million (€254,000/$269,000).

The court concluded the decision on capacity adjustments was a validly adopted regulation, and that there were no errors to indicate invalidity.

Even Softeland, spokesperson for the salmon farmers, said the group was disappointed with the outcome and would consider an appeal to Norway's Supreme Court.

IntraFish contacted several western fish farmers on Tuesday, but so far has not received any comment.

Softeland said the farmers needed more time to get an overview of the verdict before they would speak.

The group of farmers includes:

  • Austevoll Melaks
  • Blom Fiskeoppdrett
  • E. Karstensen Fiskeoppdrett
  • Eide Fjordbruk
  • Engesund Fiskeoppdrett
  • Erko Seafood
  • Firda Sjofarmer
  • Fjord Drift
  • Flokenes Fiskefarm
  • Kobbevik og Furuholmen Oppdrett
  • Landoy Fiskeoppdrett
  • Langoylaks
  • Leroy Vest
  • Lingalaks
  • Maro Havbruk
  • Mowi
  • Nordfjord Laks
  • Osland Havbruk
  • Sandnes Fiskeoppdrett
  • Sjotroll Havbruk
  • Steinvik Fiskefarm
  • Sulefisk
  • Svanoy Havbruk
  • Tombre Fiskeanlegg
  • Troland Lakseoppdrett