Toxic amounts of copper underneath many fish farms

fish farmsFish farms.Photo: Heiko Junge / Scanpix

The quantities of  copper  in the sea underneath many fish farms is several times higher than the amount which is considered acutely toxic to animals, according to the Governor of Hordaland.

TheCcounty Governor has investigated twelve facilities in Hordaland, and at nine of them were concentration of copper just beneath the fish farms was so high that it is considered toxic to animals that live there. The conditions  of the other three fish farms were described as “bad”.

– These are enormously high concentrations of copper. The current level of copper pollution is unsustainable,  Tom N. Pedersen, a senior adviser at the environmental department of the governor of Hordaland, says to the newspaper Bergens Tidende.

Copper is toxic to the marine environment, and is not biodegradable. According to the county governor  the concentration of copper in the sediments directly beneath many farms has reached an alarmingly high level.

The aquaculture industry uses copper antifouling on nets in Norwegian fish farming industry, where high pressure of nets leads to emissions and accumulation of copper underneath the cages.

Consumption of copper in the aquaculture industry has more than doubled since 2005, and the Environment Agency has estimated that around 85 percent of this – approximately 1,000 tons – is leaking into the environment.

The Governor of Hordaland mapped copper amount at four plants in 2012, and the conclusion is that the copper concentrations have doubled in the past four years.

– If current operations continue, some localities are in danger of being unfit for farming purposes,  Pedersen says.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today

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