About a million farmed salmon have died, or been discarded, because of the salmon lice that appeared in the sea pens at Arctic Fish and Arnarlax.
Arctic Fish, an Icelandic salmon farming company, has been hit by a devastating outbreak of salmon lice, resulting in the death or disposal of over a million farmed salmon. The lice infestation led to severe injuries to the fish, which quickly succumbed to bacterial infections as well.
Veiga Grétarsdóttir, a conservationist and kayaker, captured videos of the dire situation, showing lice- and bacteria-eaten salmon in the pens. She described the shocking scenes of severely affected fish to Icelandic newspaper Heimildin, emphasizing that she did not see a single healthy fish among them.
Karl Steinar Óskarsson, of Iceland’s veterinary authority MAST, told the paper that this is the first instance of such a severe salmon lice problem in Icelandic salmon farming history. The exact source of the lice introduction remains unconfirmed, but it is being investigated, with the possibility of transmission by humpback salmon considered.
Data collected by digital aquaculture platform AquaFacts shows the extent of harvesting activities in the area as farmers look to remove dead and dying salmon from the sites.
Arctic Fish is now actively disposing of the infested pens, and the removal process is expected to be completed soon. The final figures on salmon deaths will be available in mid-November.
The dead salmon are not used for human consumption but are processed into animal feed, including fur feed and pet food.