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Norwegian fishing representatives meets government over serious fuel crisis

Norwegian fishing representatives met with the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Trade yesterday to voice the concern of their members over the current cost of fuel that is having detrimental effects on the fishing industry.

The extremely high fuel prices have put a number of fisheries under strong pressure. Many boats have already temporarily stopped operating and many more are operating at a loss.

“Several fleet groups are now experiencing a desperate situation where fuel prices are so high that it is not economically viable to go to sea. We are in danger of fisheries being wiped out, with major consequences for fishermen, the fishing industry, and our supply of food with a low climate footprint,” says Kåre Heggebø, leader of the Norwegian Fishermen’s Organisation.

On the government side, State Secretaries Geir Indrefjord in the Ministry of Finance and Vidar Ulriksen from the Ministry of Trade and Industry participated in the meeting, together with representatives from government agencies in their respective ministries.

“From the Fiskarlaget, we placed great emphasis on the fact that immediate measures are now needed to remedy the situation. Immediate compensation and tax reductions were among the measures we pointed out. In addition, we must work long-term to ensure restructuring and emission reductions also from the fishing fleet, but for many, it is now a matter of getting in a position to continue operations,” says Kåre Heggebø.

Those who participated on the meeting were Kåre Heggebø, himself, national board member Thor Gunnar Martinsen, General Secretary Sverre Johansen, and Senior Advisor Jan Henrik Sandberg, along with general manager Erlend Grimsrud in Fiskerlaget Sør and assistant director Jan Ivar Maråk from Fiskebåt.

Alvorlig situasjon for fiskeflåten
Statssekretær Vidar Ulriksen (NFD), Kåre Heggebø og Geir Indrefjord fra Finansdepartementet

Thor Gunnar Martinsen represents Fiskerlaget Sør in the national board. Was very clear where the challenges lie:

“The shrimp fleet in the south has had a particularly difficult year so far in 2022, with a lot of bad weather and small catches early in the year. When we should now try to recover some of what is lost, we encounter fuel prices that in practice make shrimp fishing unprofitable. It is now necessary for the government to put in place measures that make it possible for the shrimp fleet to get through this crisis situation, and it is also important that we ensure arrangements that do not affect the crew,” he said.

Leader Kåre Heggebø sums up the meeting as follows:

We have clearly conveyed that we are in a very demanding situation, and we experience that our messages were listened to. We also reminded that the fishing industry through the pandemic has been managed without government support schemes. It is a political responsibility to contribute to the maintenance of an important district industry, and this makes it necessary to consider measures that are appropriate.”

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