NGOs urge Norway to stop sourcing fish oil from West Africa

An open letter to the Norwegian government calls on it to ban the salmon farming industry from sourcing fish oil from West Africa.

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July 10, 2024

In the wake of the publication of our Blue Empire report, this week, a coalition of international organizations sent an open letter to the Norwegian government, calling on it to ban the salmon farming industry from sourcing fish oil from West Africa in light of the threat this practice poses to regional food security and livelihoods.

The 39 signatories comprise of organizations and academic experts from around the world. Several of the African groups such as the Collectif Taxawou Cayar, WADAF, RAMPAO and CFFA represent the region’s small-scale fishing sector and communities which are suffering from the impact of overfishing. Norwegian and international NGOs including Naturvernforbundet (Friends of the Earth Norway), the Environmental Protection Association of Norway (NMF) and Oceana have also joined the call to action. 

The letter states that “what Norway sees as a ‘blue opportunity’ is in fact a ‘blue empire’. The movement of wild fish from the Global South to feed salmon in the Global North which is then sold at a premium is creating a new type of food colonialism, further entrenching global inequity.”

“The fishmeal industry is a serious threat to food security and the future of fisheries in West Africa. This industry plunders our marine resources to feed intensive aquaculture in Asia and Europe when local populations need it for their own food. It is time that ‘the fish of the poor stopped feeding the fish of the rich’. Our oceans and our people deserve better!” said Aliou Ba, senior ocean campaign manager, at Greenpeace Africa.

The letter calls on Norwegian policymakers to:

  • Ensure that Norwegian companies’ activities and feed-sourcing practices do not contradict their own development policy by mandating an immediate ban on the sourcing of fish oil from food-insecure regions including Northwest Africa.
  • Stop further growth in Norway’s salmon farming sector so that it remains within planetary boundaries.
  • Mandate genuine transparency throughout aquaculture supply chains, including full disclosure of suppliers – from source fisheries upwards.