Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Norway fisheries minister in ‘crisis meeting’ as salmon escapes tally rises - Undercurrent News

Norway's fisheries minister Elisabeth Aspaker flew to Bergen to hold a crisis meeting with the fisheries directorate as the number of escapes from salmon farms has increased further, reported the local newspaper Bergens Tidende (BT).

Strong storms in the weekend of Jan. 10-11 caused six farms to report escapes, estimated at at least 120,000 salmon and trout.

According to BT, another two farms have since also reported escapes.

This means there have already been eight reported incidents in the first month of the year -- a far cry from the government's vision of zero escapes, noted the newspaper. All of these were in Hordaland, western Norway.

If one includes the escape reported by Marine Harvest at the start of the month, but which actually happened in January, the count rises to nine.

The news has caused Aspaker to come to Bergen on Monday, among other things to discuss the situation, wrote Bergens Tidende.

The number of escapes experienced is "tragic", the minister told the newspaper. The industry has to learn to withstand similar storms in the future, she said.

Under current regulations, the farmers themselves are responsible for organizing the re-catching of escaped fish. The weeks after the storm saw big discrepancies in how each company organized this, said Bergens Tidende.

The system is not optimal, and a new hearing is underway, Aspaker told the newspaper. Aspects that will be reviewed include the reward mechanism given for re-catching fish and whether to fine farms that have suffered an escape.