Salmon escapes could be five times larger than reported, say researchers
January 21, 2014, 7:37 am
As many as 1.5 million salmon a year could be escaping from Norwegian farms, said researchers at Norway’s institute of marine research (IMR).
That would be around five times more than reported by the industry, said the researchers, according to Norwegian media.
According to IMR, the difference would be mainly due to escapes of the smaller fish, smolt, over which farmers have less good control.
“Fish farmers have reasonable control over how many adult fish they have in the pens,” IMR research director Geir Lasse Taranger is quoted as saying.
“At the same time, there needs to be a visible cause for the large fish to escape, such as a hole in the net. We therefore believe that it’s the smolt which partly escapes off through the meshes, because in some cases it’s too small, and producers don’t have as good control over fish when it’s so small.”
The industry, however, is not convinced. Not reporting escape is punishable, therefore under-reporting of escapes is unlikely, Are Kvistad, communications director at the Norwegian seafood federation.