Kit Davies & Nicki Holmyard
Hackles are being raised among Scotland's salmon farming industry at the threat of cheaper fish from Norway being allowed into the EU.
According to Scottish sources, Brussels has been making noises that it is set to remove the Minimum Import Price from Norwegian salmon. "The tariff regulations haven't been monitored properly for some time and we believe there has been a lot of dumping below the MIP, " said one source.
However, earlier investigations by the EU into allegations of dumping were dropped due to "insufficient evidence", according to farmers. The issue was one of many due to be discussed at a seminar in Lerwick organised by the Shetland industry on Saturday (January 18). This will feed into Shetland's contribution to the consultation stage of the aquaculture strategy document for Scotland, released in draft form by the Scottish Executive. However, a Shetland source claimed that while the document identifies many key issues, it held little in the way of solutions nor did it identify a clear way forward. "There are many issues on the production, environmental, sustainability and consumer fronts. These all need to be addressed so we can improve our market position and be more competitive."
He felt there were now few competitive differences between Scotland and Norway. "It is Chile we both need to be wary of, now it has displaced Norway as the world's chief producer of farmed salmon, as it benefits from much lower production and labour costs," he warned.