Escaped Lerøy fish pose low infection threat, early tests indicate

Editorial Staff

Out of more than 330 samples analyzed for BKD, only one tested positive.

Norwegian salmon producer Lerøy has announced preliminary test results indicating a low risk of infection in fish that escaped from their Reitholmen location in Fillfjorden, Hitra municipality, on May 5.

Fish from the site were revealed to have been infected with Bacterial Kidney Disease (BKD) and Pancreas Disease (PD) shortly after the escape.

Out of over 330 samples analyzed for BKD, only one tested positive. Lerøy awaits results from an additional 120 samples tested by the Veterinary Institute. The company will provide updates as more information becomes available, according to a press release from the company on Monday.

Leroy Midt General Manager Harald Larssen said, “The preliminary analysis confirms our assessment that the fish are in good health, despite the BKD detection. With only one positive sample among over 300, the results indicate a low risk of the disease spreading to wild salmon. We continue our efforts to manage the situation and protect both the fish and the environment.”

Lerøy has undertaken extensive recapture efforts, catching over 1,400 salmon, with an additional 250 recaptured in a wedge net at Agdenes, totaling 1,650 salmon. The company has partnered with Scandinavian Nature Monitoring to control and monitor river mouths and waterways in the region using drift counting and video surveillance.

“We are committed to mitigating any potential damage and will use shell samples to verify whether the captured fish are wild or farmed. Lerøy has been instrumental in developing a tracking solution to trace escaped salmon back to their owner, which we will employ in this case,” said Larssen.


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