Now photos leaked to Norwegian broadcaster NRK lay bare the scale of the mortalities.
The leaked images show large quantities of dead and passed out salmon at the bottom of the company’s cages at Reitholmen and Ulværholmen in Hitra municipality.
In the event of such incidents, producers have an obligation to report to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.
High mortality is serious because it can mean a risk of infection for other fish and must therefore be notified immediately.
Lerøy Seafood Group Director for Aquaculture, Bjarne Reinert, confirmed to NRK that an abnormally large number of salmon have died at several of Lerøy’s facilities this autumn.
“This autumn we have had challenges related to gill health at several of our locations and in several of our production units,” Reinert told NRK. “This type of incident is caused by gill health problems.”
The salmon at Lerøy struggled with various gill diseases in early September, i.e. weeks before the Norwegian Food Safety Authority came to visit, show documents obtained by NRK.
“We experience a good dialogue with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, and there have been no comments from the Norwegian Food Safety Authority about our reporting,” Reinert told the broadcaster. “This is not a normal situation. These are exceptional cases that we have had at some of our locations.”