Bounty offered for escaped salmon

The area covered by the bounty (map: Midt-Norsk Havbruk)

The authorities in Norway are still working to track the whereabouts of thousands of salmon that escaped from a Norwegian fish farm almost a month ago.

The incident, which involved around 39,000 fish was at a facility north of the Trøndelag region. The site is owned by Midt-Norsk Havbruk (MNH), part of the NTS group which acquired Norway Royal Salmon last month.

The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries said significant numbers of farmed salmon, thought to total more than 8,000, have already been recaptured in the area around the farm.

A recapture exercise, with a bounty for recovered fish, is currently underway. Midt-Norsk Havbruk is paying a bounty of NOK 250 (around £20) for every salmon caught.

Bounties are only given for farmed fish caught within a specific areas along the coast of Trøndelag and Nordland. There are also restrictions on sports fishing until the authorities are satisfied that as many escaped fish as possible have been rounded up.

The Directorate was first notified of the incident by MNH towards the end of August. The company discovered a large hole in the net following a period of bad weather.

Since then the Directorate has also been receiving reports of farmed salmon sightings from commercial fishermen and members of the public.

Fish farm security became a major issue in Norway two years ago when more than 300,000 salmon escaped. The Government then ordered the industry to take action or face stiff penalties.

The warning brought big improvements with just 20,000 escapes in 2020 and less than 1,500 between January and June this year.