Anders Marthinussen, managing director of Kontali Analysis. Photo:
Anders Marthinussen, managing director of Kontali Analysis. Photo:

Cost of Norway’s algal bloom was around NOK 4 billion

The harmful algal bloom that caused the death of eight million farmed salmon in northern Norway in the summer cost the industry around NOK 4 billion (£339 million) in lost potential sales and costs, according to new research.

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Kontali Analysis delivered the overview on behalf of the Norwegian Seafood Research Fund (FHF), and the figures were presented by Kontali’s managing director Anders Marthinussen at a productivity conference, Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site,, reports.

Marthinussen said the aquaculture industry lost an estimated 14,100 tonnes of biomass and an estimated potential harvest of about 42,000 tonnes as a result of the bloom.

Up to NOK 2.4bn in lost sales

For Norway, the mortality equated to approximately 2% of biomass, while regionally (for Nordland and Troms) it was 6.5%. According to Kontali, the estimated share of annual production for affected companies was 22%.

Marthinussen said that estimated lost sales potential for the fish is somewhere between NOK 2.1 - 2.4bn.

“The algal bloom in the north also led to direct and indirect costs of NOK 1.6-1.7bn,” he added.

Indirect costs including clean-up costs, dead fish handling and other consequential costs have also contributed greatly to the loss for farmers.

Taxman misses out too

According to Kontali’s research, the algal bloom has also led to large losses for tax revenues in Norway. Kontali Analysis has put an estimate of NOK 245 - 360 million on lost tax revenue.

Kontali's report also concludes that the measures that the Ministry of Trade and Fisheries has taken to help fish farmers affected by the bloom have been well received in the industry.

The ministry has offered a flexible account scheme under which farmers will be allowed to grow extra biomass equating to up to 60% of gross loss. This is intended to last for a period of five years, but the final methodology and application process has not yet been finalised.