Giant purchases from Morocco/Western Sahara stopped
A Norwegian government owned company stops purchases from Morocco and Western Sahara, over ethical concern. The value of the purchases has amounted to around 10 million euros annually.
Published 11 April 2010

The Norwegian firm Ewos, partially owned by the Norwegian government, last night announced they had stopped purchases of fish oil from Morocco and occupied Western Sahara.

The firm has for a number of years purchased between 12.000 and 20.000 tonnes of fish oil from the region via the Norwegian fish oil importer GC Rieber.

If one estimates the fish oil at approx 60 Eurocent/kg, the Ewos purchases from the region have had an annual value between 7,2 million and 12 million euros annually – equivalent to one eight of the annual Norwegian humanitarian aid to the Saharawi refugee camps in Algeria.

Ewos claimed on its homepages last night to never have received requests from anyone to stop the purchase. That is incorrect. Both the Norwegian Ministry of Trade and Finances, as well as the Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara have protested the trade.

“We have been crystal clear from day one. We are glad that they take this into account and it is now in accordance with our recommendation”, stated deputy trade minister Rikke Lind today in one of the biggest newspapers in Norway, Dagbladet.

The Norwegian government urges Norwegian firm to not invest in Western Sahara or trade with products from the territory.

The Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara is very content of the Norwegian government’s handling of the issue.

“We are very glad that the Norwegian government has approached this affair this seriously. It is evident that their clear message has gone though in the Ewos’ boardroom”, said Sigrun Espe at Norwegian Support Committee for Western Sahara.

Ewos is a main provider of aquaculture feed in Norway and internationally, used among other things the big Norwegian salmon farming industry.

The fish oil importer, GC Rieber, has received fish oil from the occupied territories for several years. The affair got new attention as details around the trade were exposed at a investigative documentary on Swedish national TV in March. The issue has created particular attention since the president of GC Rieber is the head of the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise, thus working against the advice of his own confederation and the Norwegian government.

Ewos has announced that the purchases finally end as the current contract expires before end of June.

See story in today’s Dagbladet here (Norwegian).

See press release from Ewos (Norwegian).

UN human rights expert decries “clampdown” on human rights defenders

Morocco must stop targeting human rights defenders and journalists standing up for human rights in Western Sahara, and allow them to work without reprisals, UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, said today.

01 July 2021

Sultana's home raided by police, activists arrested

In an early morning raid today, masked agents terrorized and assaulted the home of the Saharawi human rights defender Sultana Khaya, stole belongings and took three activists to an undisclosed location.

10 May 2021

UN experts urge Morocco to release imprisoned Sahrawi journalist

On 7 June 2019, videos began to circulate showing Moroccan police brutally beating up a Saharawi journalist in occupied Western Sahara. Today, a UN opinion calling for his release from prison was made public. 

07 February 2021

Sultana has spent two months in house arrest

The Saharawi activist Sultana Khaya and her family has for almost 10 weeks been harrassed by Moroccan police when leaving or entering their home in occupied Western Sahara. Help us to denounce. 

26 January 2021