Mowi top brass summoned by Food Safety Authority to explain shocking mortality figures

Editorial Staff

Norwegian Food Safety Authority threatens to slash Mowi production after a third of salmon in some of the company’s facilities in central Norway were found to have died in their cages. 

The Norwegian Food Safety Authority has call in Mowi management to explain alarming rises in mortality at a number of the company’s sites in central Norway, according to a recent article by Norwegian broadcaster NRK.

Mowi reported the death of 180,000 salmon at a site in the region over the course of a single month, according to figures released in January.

Out of 12.7 million salmon deaths in the region’s aquaculture sites, 4.9 million occurred at Mowi’s facilities, accounting for 39% of the total dead fish.

The company saw a mortality rate of more than 30% at its facilities in Central Norway for 2023. The Varden facility in Hitra had a mortality rate of 33.7%, an increase of 13.3 percent since last audited.

The Kåholmen facility in Hitra, known for its high mortality in the past, continued to face challenges in 2023. On 10 September, a significant number of salmon died due to low oxygen following a generator failure. Later, on 18 September, a lice treatment resulted in the death of 9,617 salmon in just two cages.

“We felt compelled to call in the top management of the company. They are the ones who must now be made responsible,” John Falch of the Norwegian Food Safety Authority told  NRK. “We are not satisfied with the measures that were implemented after the previous audit.”

Some improvements?

Some of the facilities examined have seen some improvement since the last release of fish. The problem is, however, that the mortality figures are far above other facilities in the area, with facilities in Central Norway recording an average mortaltiy rate of 16%, according to NRK.

The high mortality rates at the Mowi facilities are attributed to several factors, including low oxygen levels, lice treatment issues, and inadequate harvest capacity.

“We are naturally not satisfied with this,” Mowi regional director Asgeir Hasund told NRK. “We work every single day to improve ourselves. We will not give up until we get these locations down to the level of our other locations in this area.”

Mowi has now submitted a list of promised improvements to the Norwegian Food Safety Authority.

“The next production at these facilities will be absolutely decisive. I think the measures seem more targeted this time. It then remains to be seen whether they have an effect,” said Falch, who promised to moniter developments closely.

“In general, I can say that one of the tools we have is to reduce the biomass. This means that a producer is not allowed to release as much fish as before.”


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