Police decision to drop salmon escape investigation challenged

Arctic Fish farm, Iceland

The Icelandic Veterinary Authority Mast is appealing against a local police decision not to prosecute Arctic Sea Farm over a large fish escape in the summer.

More than 3,500 salmon got out of the farm in the Westfjords in August in what turned out to be one of the largest escape incidents in recent times.

The incident led to an outcry from environmentalists and anti-fish farm campaigners who called for an outright ban on sea pen aquaculture.

There was even a large demonstration in the centre of Reykjavik in early October against this type of aquaculture.

Shortly before Christmas the police chief in the area indicated that the company had not deliberately been negligent and was therefore dropping its investigation.

But Mast said yesterday that in its opinion the internal control at the site was insufficient and the procedures that the company had set for slaughtering were not followed which resulted in a large-scale escape of farmed fish.

Mast added: “Taking into account the violations that existed during the operation and due to the insufficient procedure, which should have rightly prevented the incident, it is the opinion of the Food Administration that it is necessary to investigate in more detail the motives and causes of the smear, as well as to obtain the position of the state prosecutor about the processing of the case.”

The (bb.is) news website in Iceland said that some 27 protests have been received from various groups, but only those party to the case can formally complain.

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