Iceland investigating Arctic Fish following salmon escape

Published on
September 21, 2023
Two workers with Arctic Fish standing by the ocean.

Arctic Fish has reported it is under a public investigation in Iceland following a salmon escape at its facility in Kvigindisdalur in Patreksfjordur, Iceland.

The said MAST, the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority, is leading the investigation into the escape. Arctic Fish reported the escape to authorities on 20 August after it discovered two “small holes” measuring 20 by 30 centimeters in its net pens.

According to the company, at the time of the discovery, there were roughly 70,000 salmon in the cage with an average size of 5.5 kilograms. After harvesting from the cage, Arctic Fish found that 3,500 fish were missing.

“We are deeply sorry that farmed salmon has escaped from our cages in Patreksfjordur. We have been working hard to minimize the effect of the escape and many employees have already participated in an internal review of the incident,” Arctic Fish CEO Stein Ove Tveiten said.  “We understand the intentions of MAST and the need for a public investigation on the cause of the hole in the net in Patreksfjordur, as that is the obligation by law. We will learn from this incident and continue our work to prevent escapes by the means and resources we have at our disposal.”

The company activated its response plan after discovering the holes, placing nets around the fish farm where the hole was discovered. An inspector from the directorate of fisheries then visited the location on 21 August, per the directorate.  

The directorate of fisheries then carried out monitoring of the location, and fish were found in nearby Ósá on 22 August. Four of the salmon were caught with nets, and the directorate warned landowners in the region of the escape and recommended more nets be laid out to catch escaped salmon.

Arctic Fish said it will fully cooperate with the investigation.

“Arctic Fish has been cooperative and will continue to cooperate fully with relevant authorities,” it said. “An internal review has already been made and the information provided to authorities.”

Arctic Fish recently released its Q2 2023 results, indicating a low-income period as its operational earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) fell into the red. The company reported EBIT losses of NOK 2.3 million (USD 213,000, EUR 200,000), and net financial losses of NOK 62.7 million (USD 5.8 million, EUR 5.4 million).  

Photo courtesy of Arctic Fish

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