Thursday, 31 March 2016

Under the Surface - Kjersti Sandvik - 4

Notes from the new book by Sandvik (boldfacing is her text, Google Translated, under lined are my points):

1. Norway produces 1.3 million metric tonnes of salmon per year. The first question that needs to be answered is whose figures are these and do we trust them? Typically fish farms inflate figures that make them look good, and play down or not reveal stats that make them look bad. In Norway, the government, which is so conflicted, and small in comparison, has figures that should not be relied on. Fish farms are often members of the government.

2. There are 1,011 operating concessions (this implies there being more licences unoperating. In BC we have 130 licences - a tenth of Noway - and about 80 operating at any given time). Marine harvest has 224 licences.

3.One standard license is 12 000 cubic meters, and it is at any time permitted to 780 tons of fish standing in the sea on each concession. In Troms and Finnmark is permitted Having 900 tonnes because here is the sea temperature colder. This seems very low to me, as in BC fish farms, people like Grant Wartkenton and Ian Roberts like to say that to make money, a farm has to produce 3,000 metric tonnes to be successful.

4. Sandvik tells the tale of Lovund, an island off the coast that started with 2000 fry in 1972, and got two companies off the ground, Lovunklaks (currently 12 licenses) and Nova Sea (currently 26 licenses. Nova's current turnover is 1 billion, delivering more than 1 million annually to shareholders. Marine Harvest owns 48% and thus half the money exiting the local economy. This is the Boom side of the fish farm cycle, it is linked to the Bust side of the industry. Stay tuned.

 5. In 2014, 122 million for shareholders, 150 million for bonuses. The licences are viewed as:
'concession from the state to print money.'  Boom.

But there are very few islands where owners are committed to residents. In fact, Marine Harvest, owned by Fredriksen, wanted more than 50% ownership, and thus control to move operations elsewhere.

6. Then the army of lice arrived. Bust. The government wanted the number reduced to .5 female per fish and cut production limits in half.

The industry reacted with anger and Aggression, traits seen all around the world. In 2015: 

Nova Sea also came on this list, in February 2015, stated CEO Odd Power that Nova Sea felt
"Stigmatized and stabbed in the back" by the FSA. If the FSA continued with this harassment, they would put Lawyers on saken. 4

If a fish farm company said this in Canada, and was quoted, we would think the person a lunatic. But what has to be remembered is that this attitude of contempt for government in Norway is part and parcel of the way they operate around the world. 

This is also the beginning of the story on why the industry has a push/pull method of dealing with government. A good example of this around the world, and there are many examples on this site, of saying 'we operate under the strictest laws in the world.' A year ago the fish farms were saying this in Chile, Scotland, Canada and Norway at the same time, even though it is obviously untrue because the laws are not the same around the world. After saying that to make consumers happy, fish farms then lobby for lowered standards in regulations, as happened last year on the east coast of Canada, in federal regulations. So it is the strictest in public, and the least stringent in private, while saying in the east that it was a situation of modernization of regulations, not weakening them.

7. Here was the original aim: "Profitability and competitiveness within the limits of sustainable development and contribute to value creation coast, "was the objective in the first aquaculture law from 1985.5 Act economic policy intentions were that production had to be adapted to demand in the markets. 

Aquaculture would be established in districts with little alternative employment and helping to maintain, or create, desired settlement. Salmon production would be an enhancement to already established reception centers for whitefish and processing companies when wild fish were difficult to obtain. Control of disease spread and minimum Pollution was a clear requirement in the first aquaculture law. Fish farming should not prevent traditional fishing, recreation or other uses of the coastal zone. 

Fine aims and the industry still claims these are true,  even though the corporations exist solely for shareholders. 

8. Rumors of a gilt-edged industry with huge revenue opportunity spread rapidly. Boom. Then came catastrophe - Bust. "The fish became ill, and the fish escaped. Antibiotic use soared.
Cold water vibriosis, also called hitra flu because the first was discovered on Hitra in Sør-Trøndelag, was one of the most onerous diseases. The attacks hardest winter and spring 1987."

In other words, the problems with the industry have been with it from the beginning. 

In 1990, the total losses due to illness estimated to be approximately 800 million kroner. 10

Many companies had to go into bankruptcy over disease losses. Bust. This is the natural cycle of fish farms - Boom, Bust.

9. In 1990, when the number of licenses was the same as in 1985, had salmon and trout production has increased nearly five times so big and totaled 158,147 tonnes. this huge growth was due both to technological advances and that the cages became larger. Boom.

So, then: Breeders produced now more salmon than what the market took away. The good profit opportunities had stimulated the production compared with demand and prices have fallen by over ten million per kilogram. With it came a decline in income and bankruptcies. 
Bust. Are you getting the cycle now? And, who loses? Workers lose jobs, the environment is degraded.

10. Boom. "Each single breeder earned more on producing salmon for cold store than selling fresh laks.13 It built up a salmon berg. The scheme was doomed to fail. fos collected 1.6 billion from nine Norwegian banks, which helped to finance the freezing scheme. A total of 37,000 tonnes of salmon frozen during 1991. It ended with bankruptcy that same year. team hadthen built up a debt of 2.5 billion. Norwegian authorities had entered with 400 million in funding. It was Norway's history until then biggest konkurs. 1" A salmon iceberg?Bust.

11. "During the 1990s, the industry conflict with eu, who claimed that Norwegian farmers dumped salmon in the eu. 15." In other words: Conflict of Interest -the industry started with it and it still proceeds today in 2016.

In the coming years the EU protected its own fish farms in Scotland and Ireland. 

eu would protect their own salmon producers in Scotland and Ireland, and after years of accusations whether dumping was finally Salmon Agreement between Norway and EU signed in 1997. So more Conflict of Interest.    

12. In fact the government signed a deal with the EU and later USA regarding production, and non-dumping prices. Sandvik: If the production had not been reduced, the whole industry collapsed. Bust

13. As for the USA, it began its own investigation: Sandvik: in 1987 investigated whether dye astaxanthin, added to salmon feed to get salmon distinctive red color, was allowed into the United States.

Remember the name astaxanthin. Without the dye, farmed fish is grey. It comes from krill, but in farmed salmon, from oil wells.

  Look at the two indexes on this site for posts that list the references to what I am saying, in my text. I always have a reference for what I am saying: January, 2016: And here for earlier posts, here:

Now, go see a list of problems in the fish farm/seafood industry. Scan the bold facing for a minute. I think you'll be shocked: