Aller Aqua confirms escape of 35,000 salmon but denies wrongdoing

Aslak Berge

Danish-owned feed company Aller Aqua Norway has confirmed that 35,000 salmon have escaped from its breeding facility in Vadheimsfjorden in western Norway last weekend, but it says it “categorically denies that Aller Aqua itself caused the escape.”

Aller Aqua told Norwegian media NRK that it discovered the escape incident on October 29 while it was about to slaughter fish infected with pancreatic disease (PD) in that facility. It said, however, that the fish that escaped do not carry the PD virus.

“The facility has had the PD virus detected, like several other locations in the Sognefjord. However, there has been no active disease outbreak at the site, and PD virus has not been detected in the fish that escaped from the facility,” Aller Aqua said in a statement.

The fish had escaped through a four-by-four-meter hole in the seine wall. Two days later, Aller Aqua counted the remaining fish and concluded that 35,000 were gone.

Some of the fish have been recaptured – a total of 3,312 fish  as of November 6.

Acting on orders from the Directorate of Fisheries, the company has drawn up a plan for environmental monitoring and removal of escaped salmon in the waterways of the Sognefjord. That plan will be implemented this week.

There’s no risk of new escape incidents, it added.

“Aller Aqua sees no possibility that the cause is related to weaknesses in the facility that create a risk of new escapes.”

It said further that an investigation is underway by the company and the Directorate of Fisheries, and that it is in discussion with local authorities and experts on how to prevent the escapees from harming the wild salmon in the area.

But while the company apologized for the incident, it denied responsibility for it.

“We also notice that there is a lot of interest in the escape, and that there will also be a police report from the Norwegian Environmental Protection Association. Aller Aqua has not seen the police report and therefore cannot comment on its content. However, we will categorically deny that Aller Aqua itself caused the escape,” it said.




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