12,000 tonnes of salmon killed by algae

Marine Harvest Salmon algaeFarmed Salmon. Photo: Marine Harvest

More than 12,000 tonnes of farmed salmon killed by algae

5,200 tonnes of farmed salmon are estimated to have died in Nordland due to algae. The Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries is closely monitoring the spread.

Up-to-date figures for Troms are currently not available, but yesterday it was estimated that 6,800 tonnes of salmon have died of the algae there. Thus, over 12,000 tonnes of fish are to become animal feed, overall.

The Directorate of Fisheries closely monitors the situation. Information that is available suggests that there are high concentrations of algae around the outer part of the Ofot Fjord and Rinøya Island.

It is not reported that the algae have spread to more plants in Nordland, but there is high mortality at Rinøyvåg. The Directorate believes that one the next 24 hours should pay extra attention to the areas of Offersøya Island –the Øks Fjord, as well as the area west of the Selsøya Island.

May spread further

Mortality is reported on the Sandøy Island in the Vågsfjord Fjord in Troms on Thursday. Water samples and gill samples have been taken to determine whether this is related to the algae. A possible resurgence here will be able to spread southwards towards Tjøtta during the next 24 hours.

Poor visibility into the water has been recorded in In Malangen. Water samples show an occurrence of algae, but it is not yet clear what type of algae is involved. Mortality has not yet been reported there. There is a lot of farmed fish in the area. Several of the local actors plan to move them.

Norwegian Minister of Fisheries, Harald Tom Nesvik (Progress Party) describes the situation as very serious.

“There are large financial values being lost these days. In addition, we should not forget that the algae cause the fish not to be able to breathe. This is, therefore, also an animal welfare tragedy,” he tells NTB.



Impossible to halt the spread

Nesvik will invite the industry to a meeting to get a review of the situation. He believes it may be prudent to discuss the need for measures at the same time.

The algae that are spreading is called Chrysochromulina leadbeaterii. It is common along the Norwegian coast. It can, under special environmental conditions, have this type of blooming, which can be fatal to fish. This has happened several times before, including in 1991.

Human prevention of spreading is quite impossible, according to the Norwegian Institute of Marine Research. The only things capable of doing that is strong winds, or that the alga depletes its food supply.

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