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200,000 Fish Limit Counterproductive

23 December 2011, at 12:00am

NORWAY - The government has announced new measures to limit escape incidents in farmed fish and prevent escapes, including setting a ceiling of 200,000 fish max per cage.

Minister of Fisheries, Lisbeth Berg-Hansen said that this ceiling will limit total losses as a result of escapes.

After extreme weather earlier this year, there were two serious and large fish escape incidents. Minister Berg-Hansen said that this extreme weather, that Norway has been more exposed to, confirms the need for new and stricter requirements for fish farms. (NYTEK Regulations).

This scheme will come into force on 1 January 2013.

Another measure introduced by the Minister is a pilot scheme to keep juvenile fish on land, in aquaculture facilities, longer before transferring them to sea.

Allowing the fish to grow longer onshore will allow producers to identify cases of sea lice and treat the fish before transferring them to sea, preventing spread of the lice.

"This will provide both environmental and fish health benefits. By putting larger, more robust fish into sea will result in less disease, as well as reduce escape risks," said Minister Berg-Hansen.

Whilst FHL, the Norwegian Seafood Federation believes that further steps must be taken to reduce escapes, it says that this ceiling would mean more nets would be needed - increasing the risk of escapes.

"This is a step backwards. It will considerably increase space required and make it impossible to carry out production in the current defined operating zones," said FHL Director Geir Andreassen.

Commenting on the trials to grow bigger fish onshore, Mr Andreassen said that FHL fully supports this initiative.

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The Health and Welfare of Atlantic Salmon.

It is vital that fish farm operatives who are responsible for farmed fish are trained in their health and welfare. This will help to ensure that fish are free from disease and suffering whilst at the same time promote good productivity and comply with legislation.

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