China stops import of Norwegian salmon

Photo: Jarle Vines @ WikiCommons

Tomorrow the 10th of September China stops all import of whole Norwegian salmon until it is guaranteed that the salmon is virus free.

No transitional period was offered when the Chinese authority General Administration of Quality, Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) claimed to have found infectious salmon anemia (ISA) virus in imported Norwegian salmon and subsequently banned import with a one day notice. The ban on import of whole salmon will be imposed until the salmon is guaranteed to be virus free.

According to a press release from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority it is very difficult to give such a guarantee since there are different variants of the ISA virus and one of them gives little or no symptoms and not uncommonly found in European waters.

While the virus might kill salmons it is harmless to humans. The fear of the disease spreading does not come out of nothing though. A Norwegian study from 2012 suggests that ISA virus found in Chile were actually transmitted from Norway between 1995 and 2007.

NOK 100 million spend on marketing goes down the sink

NRK, the national Norwegian broadcasting company, reports that Norway exported 7650 ton salmon to China last year with a total value of NOK 351 million. According to Christian Chramer, head of communication in the Norwegian Seafood Council, investments in promotion of Norwegian salmon is wasted.

“There has been a great deal of work and investments of more than NOK 100 million on marketing Norwegian salmon in China. This ban unfortunately means that one of the markets we have invested in for many years will become even more challenging for Norwegian exporters,” he tells NRK.

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