Illustrative photo of a tear in a salmon pen net. Lerøy Midt lost almost 14,000 harvest-sized fish when a net was damaged.

Thousands of 7kg salmon escape from Lerøy farm


Almost 14,000 salmon with an average weight of 7.3 kilos have escaped from a Norwegian site operated by Lerøy, one of the world’s top five Atlantic salmon farmers.

“This is a desperate situation. We have quickly mobilised extra resources to secure the net and capture as many of the escaped fish as possible. We have a good dialogue with relevant authorities and actors, including the Directorate of Fisheries, and work closely with them to handle the situation in the most efficient way possible,” said Harald Larssen, general manager of Lerøy’s central Norway division, Lerøy Midt.

The pen was in the process of being harvested, and work on harvesting and counting the fish has been completed. Based on this, Lerøy estimates that just under 14,000 fish escaped.

Recapture nets

“Our contingency plan was immediately implemented. More than 1,500 metres of recapture nets were already set out last night (Sunday),” said Larssen yesterday.

“Several thousand metres of netting were put out during the day today (Monday) and more will be put out tomorrow within the area we have permission for. We will also engage in dialogue with the State Administrator to consider further measures beyond putting nets in the sea.”

Lerøy said it was important to point out that in this case the State Administrator has not allowed free fishing. It is only open for fishing under the auspices of Lerøy and its subcontractors. The company has agreements with local fishermen from whom it has asked for assistance.

Larssen said: “We deeply regret the incident. This should not happen. We have a vision of zero escapes and take this very seriously. Lerøy has its own environmental and safety group which has now started work to determine the cause of the escape. Our priority now is to limit the extent of the damage and learn from the incident to avoid future escapes.”