Måsøval wins USD 1.2 million in lawsuit against Norwegian government

Norway-based salmon-farming company Måsøval has won a lawsuit against the Norwegian government, with the Norway Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Fisheries being ordered to pay the company NOK 12.8 million (USD 1.2 million, EUR 1.1 million) in compensation.

Måsøval announced the lawsuit on 3 May 2023, seeking compensation of NOK 29.8 million (USD 2.8 million, EUR 2.6 million) for the misdiagnosis of PD SAV3 at its Kattholmen salmon farming facility in August 2019. PD SAV3, or pancreas disease caused by alphavirus subtype 3, is a highly contagious viral disease that can negatively affect Atlantic salmon at salmon farms. 

Per Norwegian regulations, upon the ministry of fisheries' detection of PD SAV3 at the Kattholmen facility, Måsøval slaughtered “large parts” of fish at both that facility and neighboring facilities. However, the company later determined that the diagnosis wasn’t accurate and the slaughter was unnecessary. Ultimately, the company said the unnecessary slaughter cost it NOK 29.8 million – the amount it sought in compensation. 

“The state acknowledged liability for the misdiagnosis in November 2022, [but] the state still does not recognize a causal link between the misdiagnosis and the financial loss suffered by Måsøval,” the company stated at the time.

The case went to trial in November 2023, and ultimately, the court sided with Måsøval, though it only awarded NOK 12.8 million in compensation “for loss of earnings and incurred expenses as a result of the misdiagnosis, plus accrued interest and delay interest,” Måsøval stated. 

Soon after announcing the victorious lawsuit, Måsøval also announced that it had met its harvest guidance for 2023. During Q4 2023, the company harvested 7,929 metric tons (MT) gutted weight of salmon. For the year, the company reached a total harvest volume of 24,533 MT gutted weight.

The Q4 harvest represents a 57 percent increase from the 5,031 MT gutted weight the company harvested in the same quarter of 2022. For the full year 2023, Måsøval increased its harvests 12 percent from the 21,879 MT gutted weight it harvested the year before. 

As of 1 January 2024, Måsøval has officially become a holding company in a process that it said will streamline its management and public reporting processes. The company announced the move will shift the group’s licenses into one company: Måsøval Lisens. Farming operations will now be a part of Måsøval Drift.

The company attributes the need to make these changes to Norway’s introduction of a 25 percent resource tax on the production of salmon at sea.

Photo courtesy of Måsøval/Daniel Skog


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