A fish farm during Storm Ingunn.

Suspected escapes linked to 14 salmon pens in Norway after Storm Ingunn

The country's Directorate of Fisheries has received a number of reports about incidents at farms following rough weather last week


"Up to and including 6 February, we have received reports of escapes or suspected escapes related to a total of 14 cages, spread over eight locations after the storm. There are three companies that have reported these incidents," the Directorate said in a press release.

The messages have come from central and northern Norway, but mainly in Trøndelag.

"The damage varies from damage to jump nets, to holes in the net of various sizes. The localities in question have salmon in sizes from approximately 300 grams to 6 kg. The scope of the escape has not been clarified in any of the incidents," added the Directorate.

5-metre tears in nets

The two supposedly largest incidents are at Hitra and Frøya, where up to 4-5 metre long tears were found in the nets.

Nadia Jdaini, senior communications adviser in the Directorate of Fisheries, told Fish Farming Expert's Norwegian sister site, Kyst.no, that it is normally work operations, and especially delousing, that lead to escape incidents.

"In recent years, storms have rarely been stated to be a factor in such incidents. We believe this has to do with a set of regulations which now impose stricter requirements on technical standards at the facilities," said Jdaini.

Technical standards

She said that the farming companies themselves state storms as a significant factor in 0-7 incidents annually. She nevertheless points out that over time the Directorate has seen incidents where the circumstances are unclear, and that the figure may therefore be somewhat higher.

So, is there anything farmers can do to prevent escape in such weather conditions? 

"The businesses must ensure that the facilities comply with the current requirements for technical standards, operations and internal control systems," said Jdaini in conclusion.

The Directorate of Fisheries will follow up on the incidents.