Norway’s farmed salmon and trout deaths hit new record

Salmon or rainbow trout goes on spawning in river of fish farm.

Well over a hundred million salmon and trout died prematurely from various causes in Norwegian fish farms last year, the country’s Veterinary Institute says in its annual fish health report.

Infectious diseases and injuries were behind a majority of the deaths, accounting for around 70% of the total but other important factors were involved.

The Institute publishes an annual report every March looking back at the previous year, and the figure this time is a marked increase on the 2022 total.

The Institute has broken down the figures between the marine and hatchery phases.

Some 62.8 million salmon and 2.5 million rainbow trout died in the marine phase of production, while the hatchery figure was 37.7 million salmon and 2.4 million rainbow trout, up two million on the previous year.

That makes a total of 105.4 million fish of both types. Last year the total figure (for 2022) was 92.3 million Atlantic salmon and 5.6 million trout, totalling 97.9 million fish.

The most common infectious diseases listed by the Institute are winter sores, fissure of the heart (cardiomyopathy syndrome), gill disease and heart and skeletal muscle inflammation and a bacterial disease, pasteurellosis. Jellyfish also took a toll, estimated at some three million fish.

Fisheries and Oceans Minister Cecilie Myrseth told the broadcaster NRK: “There is far too much mortality. Now the industry must take action and do something about this.”

The minister said there were a number of farming companies that managed to achieve low mortality, so it should be possible to learn from them.

She also promised that the government would help, by drawing up a policy designed to improve the situation.

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