Finnish PM calls Bellona terrorists

Finlands statsminister Paavo Lipponen kaller Bellona for terrorister

Publish date: March 18, 2001

Written by: Cato Buch

Translated by: Igor Kudrik

The Finnish prime minister, Paavo Lipponen, called Bellona’s six-year old action against a Finnish fish-breeding plant an act of terrorism. “We destroyed no breeding plant, we just killed the fish to prevent spreading of a dangerous disease,” Frederic Hauge, the president of Bellona, says. Bellona reserves the right to undertake legal steps against Mr Lipponen.

Paavo Lipponen and his wife Päivi are arriving for a two-day state visit to Norway tomorrow. In an interview with Norwegian daily Aftenposten, the prime minister said he had no understanding for those who want to resist nuclear power energy development with undemocratic means.

“We had Bellona’s terrorists, who came to Lappland and destroyed a fish-breeding plant. It’s enough with such arrogance. This is typical of so-called intellectuals to use means of terrorism character, when they do not manage to win a debate,” Prime Minister Lipponen states.

Fight for salmon
Bellona arranged an action against a fish-breeding plant near Enaresjøen in north Finland on August 9th 1995. The fish was infected with a parasite called Gyrodactylus salaris. A real danger existed of the disease spreading over to the salmon rivers in Finmark, including the Tana River, which is one of Europe’s most important salmon rivers. Around 500 people live of fishing in the Tana River, which was in direct contact with the infected Finnish plant. Should the disease have spread, it would have eliminated the biggest North-Atlantic salmon stocks. Bellona managed to kill around 600 fish before Finnish police interfered and halted the work to stop the spread of the disease.


“We destroyed no fish-breeding plants, we just killed the fish to prevent the spread of Gyrodactylus salaris,” Frederic Hauge says.

As a result of the action, the Finnish authorities had to make a deal to buy the infected plant at Saamen Lothi. The purchase was the only legal way to shut down the plant.

Strong statements
The statements by the Finnish prime minister were taken very seriously by Bellona.

“We have asked the prime minister to apologize openly. If it does not happen, then we will have to undertake legal steps to get those strong statements withdrawn,” Frederic Hauge says.

”We also find it natural that the Norwegian prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, should take this case up with his colleague, if no apology is made. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry has earmarked 4 million Norwegian crones for Bellona’s work in Russia. Does the Finnish prime minister mean then that the Norwegian government and parliament are sponsoring a terrorist organization? Anyway, the Finnish prime minister is welcome to visit Bellona’s office.”

“We do not know why the Finnish prime minister is so angry at Bellona. Perhaps he is angry at us after the Finnish parliament, as a result of another Bellona action, decided to stop sending Finnish nuclear waste to Russia. This decision led to a billion dollar bill for the Finnish state to build their own storage for nuclear waste.”

“We do not usually react on such statements, but when a prime minister goes out and stamps Bellona in this way, we have to react. If not, then we know that the Russian security police, the FSB, will not hesitate to quote the Finnish prime minister,” added Hauge.