Following complaints by Britain and Ireland about a recent surge into the EU of imports of farmed Atlantic salmon, the European Commission has decided to open an inquiry to see if safeguard duties are called for.

Brussels said it had already raised the matter with the main exporter, Norway, and others (such as the Faeroe Islands and Chile), and would try for a solution, which would make border measures unnecessary.

It said imports of farmed salmon increased by 14.7% in January-September 2003 compared to the same period in 2002 and the UK/Irish evidence, which referred to “significant losses” in Scotland and Ireland, was “sufficient” to initiate proceedings.