Whale of a time for escaped salmon

Minke whales are among the species safeguarded by the new MPAs

A 30 foot long minke whale has broken into a salmon cage in northern Norway, enabling a number of fish to swim free.

The large intruder made its bold, but unwelcome, appearance at a Lerøy Aurora farm in Åpenvik in the Varangerfjord region. It made a large hole in the net, through which a small number of salmon escaped.

The incident, which happened on Friday, has bemused staff at the fish farm; they say they have not heard of anything like this before.

Kurt-Einar Karlsen, manager at Lerøy Aurora, told iFinnmark that the whole thing was discovered fairly soon after the whale got into the cage. It was dealt with by staff and the hole sealed up fairly quickly.

Describing it as a rare case, he said that it was unclear exactly how many fish had escaped, but between 10 and 15 have already been recovered.

Minke whales are quite common in the seas around the north of Norway and they can grow up to 10m in length and weigh around ten tonnes, making them a formidable opponent for any salmon cage.

Karlsen added: ‘I have never experienced anything like it before in all my years at Lerøy, but this whale simply gained good momentum and got through to the fish.

‘It really should be almost impossible. We have put out nets around the facility to catch fish that have come out, we have a lot of nets in readiness at the site.’

A Mowi (then Marine Harvest) fish farm reported a similar incident four years ago and there were reports of a minke whale attacking a SalMar cage earlier this year.





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