Norway’s National Audit Office has published a highly critical report, accusing the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries and some of its subordinate agencies of failing on farmed fish welfare.
Released yesterday, the Audit Office report into the country’s aquaculture industry says that various authorities have not implemented sufficient measures to reduce ongoing challenges with diseases and fish welfare.
It states: “It is worthy of criticism that the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries and its subordinate agencies have not implemented sufficient measures to contribute to reducing the ongoing challenges of disease and poor fish welfare in the aquaculture industry.
“The authorities have also not sufficiently followed up the negative consequences of new technology and new forms of operation. Disease and poor welfare contribute to increased mortality and lower quality of the fish, and thus to economic losses.
“It is also worthy of criticism that the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s system for carrying out a risk-based inspection has significant potential for improvement.”
The Office also says the Norwegian Food Safety Authority’s system for carrying out a risk based inspection “has significant potential for improvement.”
Nationally, between 15% and 18% of Norwegian salmon released into the sea die (58 million according to an Institute of Marine Research report in February)
Western Norway was the worst area with a mortality rate of 25% and Nordland the lowest at 10%.
The report finds mortality is particularly high after fish have been treated against lice.
The Office has made a number of recommendations including ensuring the Food Safety Authority (FSA) develops a more risk-based approach to supervision and that co-operation between the FSA and the Directorate of Fisheries is strengthened in a number of areas.
It also wants a stronger development of regulations for fish management and internal control in the aquaculture industry.
Karoline Skaar Amthor, head of department and veterinarian at Seafood Norway said: “It is in our greatest interest that the recommendations and criticism directed from the National Audit Office are followed up. We have an obvious potential for improvement in our work with fish health, fish welfare and mortality. In this, we depend on the interaction between the agencies working better than it does.”