Huge fall in salmon escapes

NORWAY has reported a dramatic drop in salmon escapes for last year – and the trend appears to be continuing.

The country’s Directorate of Fisheries says there were 44,000 escapes in 2020, with just 1,200 reported so far for 2021, with almost half the year gone.

The figure of 44,000 may still seem high but when compared with 2019 when more than 300,000 escapes were reported, it represents a huge improvement.

Back then salmon companies were warned that if they did not take action, the government would step in.

Harald T. Nesvik, who was fisheries minister at the time, bluntly told the industry to get its house in order.

Escaped farm salmon pose a big threat to wild salmon stocks, especially if they get into rivers.

The employer organisation Seafood Norway then ordered its members to carry out a thorough investigation into the problem. A number of new measures have since been implemented..

Tarald Sivertsen, who headed Seafood Norway’s escape committee, said he is pleased with the latest results.

He said: “After the “escape year” 2019, it is good to see that there are again reports of fewer escaped fish, says Sivertsen. He also adds that the recapture of escaped fish in 2019 was very successful. About 40% of the escaped fish were then recaptured, thanks to good preparedness at the facilities, and great efforts from fishermen.

“The escape figures for 2020 are among the lowest we have had, and contribute to the clearly downward trend we have now seen over the years.

Siversten added that escape prevention measure were now high on the agenda of boardrooms as well as at operational level around the cages.