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Salmon Talks with Norway

NORWAY - Salmon was on the agenda for Scottish Minister for Environment Michael Russell as he met with Helga Pedersen, Norway's Minister for Fisheries and Coastal Affairs, in Oslo.

Scottish Minister for Environment Michael Russell

The two Ministers discussed closer co-operation between their countries on aquaculture in the light of the likely removal of the EU Minimum Import Price on imported salmon from Norway.

The meeting follows on from a summit of the industry in Scotland, hosted by Mr Russell on 10 June.

The Ministers also agreed to set up a joint Working Group between industry, Government officials and academics, to discuss the impact of climate change on aquaculture.

Mr Russell said: "Scotland's aquaculture sector is one of its prized assets. Last year we produced some 140,000 tonnes of salmon worth around £380 million and hundreds of jobs depend on fish farms.

"It is therefore vital that we do everything we can to ensure Scottish aquaculture remains prosperous.

"Today was a very constructive meeting and I look forward to further discussions with Ms Pederson and her colleagues."

Mr Russell is visiting Norway in his capacity as Minister of Environment to discuss the re-introduction of beavers and sea eagles to Scotland. He also took the opportunity to discuss possibilities for a strengthened and deepened co-operation between Scotland and Norway on aquaculture.

The meeting follows the meeting between Ms Pedersen and Richard Lochhead in Norway on 4 March this year, when they discussed the EU's anti-dumping measures and Mr Lochhead proposed further co-operation on aquaculture. Issues of mutual interest also include fish health, finance, research and regulations.

In their discussion, the two Ministers also touched on other issues of common interest, such as rural development, access to the Russian market and increasing fuel costs. Mr Russell also met Norwegian Environment Minister Heidi Sorenson.