1,600 fish have been recaptured so far following an escape in August.
Escaped steelhead have been found across several Norwegian municipalities after an incident at a Lerøy site in western Norway, according to a warning from the Norwegian Directorate of Fisheries on Tuesday.
The discovery of a significant hole in a net at the Naveide location in Austevoll was reported by Lerøy to the directorate Aug. 31. The damage was found during a remote operated vehicle (ROV) inspection after a tipoff about rainbow trout being caught in the Korsfjorden region was received.
In response, the Directorate ordered an inspection of the site and directed the company to spearhead a recapture mission.
Although many of the fish are being caught by vessels chartered by Lerøy, the Directorate stated that they have also received tips about catches in other sea areas.
The exact number of escaped fish remains unclear, but the Directorate labeled the incident as significant, involving fish averaging around 3kg.
As of Sep. 11, Lerøy have reported that approximately 1,600 fish have been retrieved. This tally does not include those caught by private parties or local river owners.
Lerøy is offering NOK 250 ($25) for every recaptured rainbow trout. The Directorate is also seeking public assistance, urging those who have caught any of the fish to reach out to the company. Additionally, they are encouraging the public to provide tips, which can be submitted anonymously, about potential rainbow trout catches.
Morten Fjæreide, the general manager of Lerøy Vest, expressed the company’s regret over the situation in a statement: “We apologize for the incident. We are committed to mitigating the damage. Lerøy is deeply committed to preventing such occurrences and views them with utmost seriousness.”