BAKKAFROST last night reported the death of hundreds of thousands of fish at one of its salmon farming sites on the Faroe Islands, with the precise cause still unknown.
However, it is beginning to look as if the spread of a potentially harmful algae could be at the heart of the problem which has so far killed 750,000 fish.
The big Faroese salmon company said in a statement that it had recorded an ‘elevated mortality level’ at farming site A-81 Kolbanagjógv on September 20 (last Thursday).
Bakkafrost added: ‘Approximately 750,000 fish with an average weight of 500g live weight died within a couple of hours. The fish at farming site A-81 Kolbanagjógv was released into the sea in June – August 2018.
‘It has not been possible to confirm the cause of the incident, but algae phaeocystis, pseudo-nitzscia and heterosigma were registered in the sea at farming site A-81 Kolbanagjógv on September 20 2018, and the algae are suspected to have caused the mortality incident.’
All three possible causes are forms of algae with heterosigma which is also known as harmful algal bloom.
The statement continued: ‘It has also been confirmed that prior to and while the incident occurred, manure has been sprayed as fertiliser on to the infield only 200m from the farming site A-81 Kolbanagjógv.
‘Continuous examinations are being done to confirm the cause of the sudden and short mortality incident.
‘Farming activity has been at the farming site A-81 Kolbanagjógv for the past 30 years, and there has never been a similar incident. Bakkafrost has not observed any similar situations at other farming sites in recent days.’
Bakkafrost said it will finish taking all the dead fish out of the sea at the affected site later today stressing that nothing abnormal has been reported since the discovery last Thursday. All the fish lost are insured, it added.