Escape prompts call to ban open-net farming in Iceland

A group representing 25 environmental and sports fishing organisations has called on the Icelandic government to ban open-net farms in the country.

The demands comes just days after the Icelandic company Arnarlax was fined a record ISK 120 million (£705,000) for allowing 80,000 fish to escape into a fjord. It has appealed the penalty.

The group, known as the National Association of Sports Associations, said it was issuing the challenge because Arnarlax could not account for the fate of so many salmon.

It says it wants to see credible legislation that completely bans fish farming in open sea and fjord pens.

The statement continued: “The wild salmon population in Iceland numbers about 50,000 salmon. The accidental release is a grave environmental disaster for which Arnarlax has been fined 120 million ISK and will have a serious genetic impact on wild salmon populations in Iceland.”

“The accident release is further confirmation that the beautiful promises of companies in fish farming are false and it also reveals the company’s indifference to the interests of nature when it has decided to protest the payment of the fine.”

Arnarlax has apologised for the incident, stressing that it had done everything it could to prevent such an occurrence.

The Icelandic government has yet to respond to the group’s demand.