Storms leave a trail of fish escapes

Storm Ingunn, January 2024 (photo: NASA)

Hundreds of salmon are thought to have escaped following Storm Ingunn which savaged the Norwegian coastline last week.

Storm Ingunn, which saw northern Norway battered by hurricane-level winds, was one of the worst incidents of its kind for many years. It forced the salmon industry to batten down the hatches for several days.

But the storm (shown above, as captured by NASA) also looks to have had further environmental consequences. The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries has received a number of reports about problems at fish farms. Up to and including this week an estimated 14 cages spread over eight locations had logged escapes resulting from the storms. The areas worst affected were in central and northern Norway with the Trondelag area particularly badly hit.

The Directorate, which is following up on the incidents, added: “The damage varies from damage to jump nets to holes in the groove of various sizes. The localities in question have salmon in sizes from about 300 grams to 6 kg. The extent of the escape has not been clarified in any of the incidents.

“The two supposedly largest incidents are at Hitra and Frøya, where up to 4-5 metre long tears were found.”

Storm Ingunn caused havoc over a long area of the coastline. SalMar said it was investigating possible breaches via a feeding camera and other companies are doing the same.

Salmon farms also suffered a great deal of structural damage and in one dramatic episode a group of people managed to save 20 tonnes of salmon after a large trailer slid off a main road and ended up in a ditch.

Despite fierce winds, they succeeded in getting the fish out before transferring it to another vehicle.

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