Every day, lorries full of salmon run all over Norway. The salmon is packed in ice and when it melts, the water flows straight out onto the road.
In winter, the mixture of fish blood and water freezes to ice, but also in summer, the fish sludge can lead to slippery and very dangerous roads. In addition, runoff is an environmental problem, according to the Norwegian Public Roads Administration.
This has been a well-known problem for over ten years, but the Norwegian Public Roads Administration still sees no improvement on the roads.
Every year, hundreds of lorries are stopped for checks.
Believes the aquaculture industry chooses the cheapest resort
Leader of the Truck Owners Association, Roar Melum, believes the main problem is that the core temperature of the fish is too high when it is placed in the fish boxes on ice.
– Thus, it is impossible to prevent melting of the ice, he says.
Melum claims that the aquaculture industry has opted out of Norwegian transporters, and that this is part of the problem.
– We experience that they choose the cheapest solutions. There is more focus on cheap transport than focusing on solving the problem, says Melum.
May come review
Both current Minister of Transport, Jon-Ivar Nygård (Labor Party), and the then Minister of Transport in 2018, Ketil Solvik-Olsen (Frp), has stated that this salmon runoff is illegal.
The Norwegian Public Roads Administration and the police are now considering reporting the fish farming companies for complicity in offenses.
– We are at an early stage in the assessment, and so far I can not say more, says Kjetil Wigdel.
He is the department director for outdoor control in the Norwegian Public Roads Administration. Wigdel believes it is well documented that salmon runoff is a widespread problem, and refers to its own controls in recent years.
Assessing rule changes and fees
– You have warned about this for several years, why have you not reported the industry yet?
For the time being, our regulations, as we have practiced them, have been limited to stopping and banning use until the runoff stops. But when we see that the problem is so extensive, we have seen whether complicity in crime is relevant, he says.
The Norwegian Public Roads Administration is also considering whether changes should be made to the regulations so that inspectors can provide fees for salmon runoff.
– But this requires changes in regulations, he says.
Want more documentation
Øyvind André Haram, Head of Communications at Seafood Norway, on the other hand, calls for more documentation of how big the problem of salmon runoff really is.
– There is no one who has investigated yet, says Haram.
He says that several good solutions to the problem have now been found. Among other things, transport vehicles can be rebuilt so that they can collect water in a barrel. But the transport companies must take responsibility for this, Haram believes.
Roar Melum of the Truck Owners’ Association dismisses this. He believes it is not a viable solution.
– When there is ice that indicates between 3000-4000 liters of water on a load, and the tanks that are practically possible to get on a car, only take 250 liters of water, then it is a meager consolation, says Melum.
Believes the seafood industry is taking responsibility
When asked if the aquaculture industry can only make demands on its carriers to solve the problem of run-off from the lorries, Haram answers that they have already made demands.
– Is the reason why you are unable to find a solution that it will cost too much for the industry?
– No, absolutely not. If it’s expensive, then it’s expensive. As a responsible producer, we must help ensure that you do not have a problem with what you are doing.
Haram points out that the seafood industry is already taking responsibility, by making sure that the fish is properly tempered. New slaughterhouses to be built will have better systems and cooling tools.
– But it takes time to develop machines that are good enough and get these installed in the factories, says Haram.