Big drop in salmon escapes

THE number of salmon escaping from Norway’s fish farms has fallen dramatically in recent months, new figures show.

The country’s Directorate of Fisheries has reported that only 24 salmon have escaped from breeders up to the end of May this year. This compares with around 131,000 salmon escapes during the whole of 2016.

The Directorate of Fisheries said on its website that it was pleased with the improvements and with the way farming companies were tackling what has been a serious issue in the past.

Better measures to prevent escapes and to carry out successful recaptures were now in place and these were producing results.

New requirements on technical standards have now been set in place, including changes to mesh sizes.

Several years ago the directorate published a vision for zero escapes which included stricter auditing, tougher controls on smolts and information sharing, with greater transparency in the Norwegian media.

However, caution is being urged in some quarters. Olav Moberg is senior adviser at the Supervision Section of the Coastal and Aquaculture Fisheries Directorate. He told the website iLaks.no that the situation could change.

He agreed that 24 salmon was an exceptionally low number but fish can escape without being noticed, he said.

The Norwegian Institute for Nature Research also told iLaks.no that there was still insufficient knowledge how the migration of escaped salmon impacts on the different fishing seasons and period up to spawning.

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