An unknown number of fish have escaped from Ocean Farm 1 through a tear in the net.

Second escape from Ocean Farm 1

The Norwegian Fisheries Directorate was today due to inspect SalMar’s Ocean Farm 1 salmon farm after the company reported a fish escape yesterday.

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The company discovered a tear in the net after escaped farmed fish were caught in the area. The hole is temporarily secured, and work is being done to clarify the cause of the rupture, among other things.

The extent of the escape is not clear, but the company is recapturing fish the area. The fish have an average weight of just over 5 kg, the Fisheries Directorate reported in a press release. 

Open hatch

It is the second escape from Ocean Farm 1. In September 2018, around 16,000 salmon were able to swim out of their cage when the farm tilted after water entered an inspection hatch that had been accidently left open.

A few metres of the top of the net were up to 18cms under water for a short period of time, allowing fish to escape.

To get a picture of the scope and spread of this week’s escape, the Fisheries Directorate wants information from anyone who catches escaped fish in the area. It also wants pictures of any catches.

Good fish health

Notwithstanding the escapes, Ocean Farm 1 has been a success for SalMar, which has reported few lice problems and good fish health in the two crops of salmon grown in the cage.

The eight temporary development permits SalMar was granted for the project have since been converted into commercial food fish licences which would otherwise have cost the company millions to buy.

In March, Scottish Sea Farms – which is 50% owned by SalMar and 50% by Lerøy - announced that it wanted to trial Scotland’s first open ocean farm and had the financial backing of its Norwegian owners for the project.

Scotland’s rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing expressed enthusiastic support for the idea, saying it was “the kind of landmark investment opportunity that Scotland needs to thrive”.