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Salmar tightens procedures after Ocean Farm 1 escape

Fish escaped from Ocean Farm 1 when when it tilted slightly to one side after a hatch was left open.
Fish escaped from Ocean Farm 1 when when it tilted slightly to one side after a hatch was left open.

The chief executive of Norwegian salmon farmer Salmar, which owns the pioneering Ocean Farm 1, says the company has thoroughly reviewed and tightened operational routines following a fish escape from the facility in early September. 

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An unknown number of salmon escaped after the structure tilted and the top on the internal net dipped below the water line.

The tilt was due to water coming in through a hatch in a tank system, a supportive part of a sliding bulkhead which was inside the cage. The closure had been opened for inspection the day before and left open by mistake.

The structural integrity of Ocean Farm 1, which is moored off the coast of Frøya, the westernmost municipality in Trøndelag county, wasn’t compromised, according to the company.

Olav-Andreas Ervik: Escape total will be known when the cage is emptied.
Olav-Andreas Ervik: Escape total will be known when the cage is emptied.

Final number

Chief executive Olav-Andreas Ervik told Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site, Kyst.no, that Salmar had carried out a thorough review and tightening up of the routines for operation of the plant. 

He said the company, which has a half share of Scottish Sea Farms, didn’t yet know how many fish escaped from the farm.

“We have previously reported recapture of 69 fish but will not know the final number until the end of October when the fish are slaughtered and the cage is emptied,” he said.

The Directorate of Fisheries made an inspection after the escape, but Salmar has not yet received any final report from the directorate, said Ervik.

In a trading update today, Salmar said harvest volumes in the third quarter of 2018 totalled 32,900 tonnes in its Central Norway sector and 3,200 tonnes in Northern Norway, a total of 36,100 tonnes.

The full Q3 2018 report will be released on November 8.

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