Grieg chief executive Andreas Kvame. The company has successfully appealed against an order to cull hundreds of thousands of salmon in pens where some fish were killed or injured by jellyfish.

Grieg wins appeal against order to cull hundreds of thousands of salmon

Food Safety Authority revokes instruction after agreeing that jellyfish danger has passed


Norway and Canada salmon farmer Grieg Seafood has won an appeal against an order to cull hundreds of thousands of fish at a site impacted by jellyfish attacks.

On January 29, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority ordered Grieg to remove, stun and kill all the fish in four cages its Vinnalandet site by February 6, following mortality linked to the attacks by chain jellyfish, a family that includes the "barbed wire" jellyfish Apolemia uvaria that caused significant farmed fish losses in Norway last year.

In documents seen by Fish Farming Expert’s Norwegian sister site,, Grieg wrote that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority had, in short, based its decision on an assessment of the future welfare of Vinnalandet.

“Such forecasts must be based on a full and proper assessment of the facts at the time of decision. We feel that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority's forecast is based on an incorrect and incomplete assessment of the actual circumstances in the case,” wrote the company.

Development in numbers of jellyfish that have been picked out of the water at the site.

In its complaint, Grieg Seafood pointed out that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority assumed that the increased mortality after December 11, 2023 was mainly caused by damage sustained before December 11.

“In other words, the Norwegian Food Safety Authority assumed that most of the mortality at Vinnalandet was due to damage sustained during jellyfish attacks several weeks before. At the time of the decision, this assessment gave reason to believe that the increased mortality would also persist for many weeks, despite the fact that the jellyfish attacks are now practically over,” the company wrote in its appeal.

Grieg Seafood emphasised that since January 23 there had been no need to pick out jellyfish, nor had a new invasion or new occurrences of jellyfish been observed in the facility.

“Mortality has also been sharply decreasing in recent weeks,” said the company, which added that a fish health visit on February 3 this year showed a sharp improvement in the pens and no behavioural changes compatible with jellyfish.

Worst is over

Grief said its experience is also that jellyfish attacks rarely occur later than February.

“This further contributes to strengthening the probability that mortality at Vinnalandet will decrease and normalise within a few weeks. There is also no risk of infection linked to injuries after a jellyfish attack.”

On Friday, February 16, Cecilie Hansen, head of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s Finnmark department, informed that the revoked the decision on culling yesterday.

“The background is a review of submitted documentation which showed a sharp drop in mortality, and verification supervision which confirmed this. We consider that the welfare situation in the four cages can be handled in the day-to-day operations, and therefore we have revoked the decision,” explained Hansen.