Pump error toll was worse than first feared

SalMar smolt plant, Senja

Salmon producer SalMar has admitted that it lost around 200,000 small fish in a “mechanical incident” at its Jovika site on the island of Senja, near Tromsø, Norway recently. The fish weighed around seven grams.

The loss is thought to be considerably higher than the initial estimate, when the incident was first discovered.

In a message to the Directorate of Fisheries, SalMar has said  that the accident occurred as fish were due to be pumped from a well boat. A number of fish ended up partly on the footpath and partly in the sea.

Remedial measures were immediately implemented, including setting nets for recapture, says the report sent to the Directorate of Fisheries.

The company said: “The incident was a consequence of defective installation of barriers in a fish tank, in this case the centre strainers in the tank. The fish have therefore ended up in the RAS [recirculating aquaculture system] facility, biofilter and fish trap.”

It added: “We keep the Norwegian Food Safety Authority and the Directorate of Fisheries informed about a more detailed survey of the scope and causal relationships, and at the same time, together with the supplier, are making the necessary equipment adjustments to prevent something similar from happening again.

“This regrettable incident has also been handled in a professional manner by SalMar’s employees. Analysis of the incident will form the basis of the company’s further work to improve safety and fish welfare in our facilities.”

Separately, SalMar also suffered a jellyfish attack in the area last month which also led to losses.

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