The Norwegian Fisheries Association has said that the situation with fishing ports is serious and has asked for action to be taken on the issue
The Norwegian Fisheries Association describes the situation for fishing ports as serious and has asked for action to be taken before the situation becomes dangerous.
The Fisheries Association has urged the Finance Committee to increase the state framework grant for fishing port purposes to a level that enables the county authorities to fulfill their new responsibilities.
In 2018, the Storting decided to transfer ownership and responsibility for the state’s commercially active fishing ports to the county municipalities. This was basically done through voluntary agreements.
However, it is claimed that this process has not gone smoothly and the Norwegian Fisheries Council therefore was forced to re-examine the challenges and points out to politicians in the Storting the very serious situation for business development in many parts of the country.
Input to the revised State Budget
In the letter, the Fisheries Team points out that the fishing ports are an important basis for a profitable fishing industry and viable coastal communities.
They say “They are a link between the marine industries and the markets, and they contribute to positive effects and large export revenues.”
Requirements for the fishing ports have changed with developments in the fishing fleet and the land industry. There are now fewer small to medium size vessels, but with larger vessels there is now a need for, among other things, shore power, fresh water and good waste management systems.
“We also point out in the letter that underfunding of the fishing ports over many years has led to a major backlog in maintenance today, reports the Association.
“Modest funds for maintenance were allocated in the state budget for 2020. Granted, the appropriations increased somewhat, but this is far from enough for the necessary maintenance and development of the active fishing ports along the Norwegian coast.
“The fishery team recognises that available funds must be channeled to where they benefit most. At the same time, we pray that the industry must be given the opportunity to help prioritize which fishing ports will be developed first,” the Association has said.
Challenging for the Municipalities
“We show in the letter that Møre and Romsdal, Trøndelag, Nordland, Troms and Finnmark county municipalities have clearly stated that they are not willing to take ownership and responsibility for the fishing ports before they are given sufficient resources to fulfill this responsibility. At the same time, the Coastal Administration is in the process of discontinuing its management of the fishing ports,” which is a problem for Norwegian fishers who’s ports will be left in no-man’s-land without some authority taking charge.
Uncertainty about responsibility and financing has led to the planning of fishing port projects now stopped. At the same time, the maintenance delay is only getting bigger and bigger. This, the Association claims, helps avoid exploiting the potential that lies in the Norwegian seafood industry.
“We therefore emphasize that the situation for Norwegian fishing ports is serious and this is why our fiscal politicians are asked to contribute to increasing the state framework grant for fishing port purposes to a level that enables the counties to fulfill their new responsibilities,” says the Association.
Source: Norwegian Fisheries Association