SalMar facing heavy fine over fish welfare

Norwegian salmon giant SalMar is reported to be facing a fine of almost NOK 1.7 million (£125,000) over various fish welfare issues.

The figure is thought to be the maximum the Norwegian Food Safety Authority can impose for such breaches.

According to an exclusive report by the national broadcaster NRK, an unannounced inspection by the Food Safety Authority two months ago found large numbers of dead and seriously ill salmon at sites on the Trondelag coast.

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s local head of department John B. Falch, said a safety inspection in April uncovered a lot of sick and bad fish.

There were major problems at several of the facilities, he maintained with many fish with large so-called winter wounds, he maintained.

The disclosure came at the weekend, around the same time as Norway’s National Audit Office published a highly critical report on fish welfare.

Most of the criticism was directed towards the Ministry of Fisheries and its associated agencies for failures on welfare rather than against individual companies.

The Food Safety Authority says that winter sores usually occur after fish have undergone de-licing treatment.

Falch told NRK: “Living with such large wounds in seawater causes great pain. This causes considerable stress to the fish. The fish leaks body fluids from the wounds and becomes dehydrated. The wounds are gateways for new diseases. It is well documented that fish experience pain. This is very poor animal welfare.”

SalMar has yet to formally respond to the allegations or say whether it plans to appeal against the fine.

 

 

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