Report on salmon louse situation in Norway

Salmon LouseA risk assessment shows that the salmon louse through repeated freshwater treatments can increase their fresh water tolerance. This can have consequences for sea trout and char living in the fjords. Photo: Mattilsynet.

Report on the salmon louse situation in Norway

The Norwegian Ministry of Fisheries has received a report on the effect of the salmon louse on wild fish. The report will be important when the ministry next year decides which areas of Norway are allowed to increase salmon production.


The risk that wild salmon dies due to salmon louse (Lepeophtheirus salmonis) is lower in some areas, but others are still struggling, the report shows.

“There are signs that development is going in the right direction. A lot suggests that the efforts the breeders make to reduce the louse problem is working. Additionally, we experienced a cold winter, which may have contributed to less salmon louse. But we still have a long way to go, and the breeders have to continue to work purposefully.”

~ Harald T. Nesvik, Minister of Fisheries.

“State of the Union”

The “Steering Committee for the Assessment of Salmon Louse impact on Wild Fish” published a report on how salmon louse affects the wild fish on November 29th, 2018. The report is written by researchers from several institutes, commissioned by the department-appointed steering committee.

The report is available here.

The researchers have assessed data from 2018 and analyzed data sets using various methods and models.

In one of the areas – from Karmøy in Rogaland to Sotra in Hordaland (Area 3) – the risk is still considered high that too much of the wild fish will die as a result of the louse. In eight of the areas, the risk is considered as low (see overview below).

Traffic light coding next year

Next year there will be another assessment, where the louse situation for 2018 and 2019 will be viewed in context.

– The reports from both years will be important when we next year decide which areas are allowed to increase salmon production and what areas need to cut back, says Nesvik.

In addition to the two reports, it may also be appropriate to look at developments in the previous years.

Recommendations from the reports are included in the Government’s traffic light system. The scheme, which came into force last year, will ensure sound and predictable growth in the salmon industry.

Norway is divided into thirteen colour coded areas. The colour is based on how louse affects the wild salmon in the area and determines if the breeders are allowed to increase, maintain or must decrease production

More about the traffic light system here.

Current states

Low-risk areas (Green)

Salmon Areas in Norway

Salmon Areas in Norway. Ill: NFD

  • Swedish border – Jæren (Area 1)
  • North Møre – South-Trøndelag (Area 6)
  • Helgeland – Bodø (Area 8)
  • Vest Fjord & Vesterålen (Area 9)
  • Andøya – Senja (Area 10)
  • Kvaløya – Loppa (Area 11)
  • Western Finnmark (Area 12)
  • Eastern-Finnmark (Area 13)

Moderate risk areas (Yellow)

  • Ryfylke (Area 2),
  • Nordhordland – Stadt (Area 4),
  • Stadt – Hustadvika (Area 5)
  • North-Trøndelag including Bindal (Area 7)

High-risk areas (Red)

  • Karmøy-Sotra (Area 3)

© Fiskeridepartementet / #Norway Today