More than 21,000 salmon escape from Grieg Seafood fish farm

Published on
February 21, 2018

An estimated 21,700 farmed salmon have reportedly escaped from one of Grieg Seafood’s fish pens anchored in Loch Snizort, close to the Isle of Skye, according to a recent report from BBC News.

The Norway-based company became aware of the escape on 11 February following a routine inspection of the pens by divers, who immediately patched up the damage upon discovery. Grieg reported the escape to government agency Marine Scotland soon after. 

"Our priority is to prevent escape and a temporary mend to secure net was immediately applied,” said Grant Cumming, managing director Grieg Seafood Shetland Ltd., in a company statement. 

"Marine Scotland were informed of the incident and the net was repaired the same day. Since then we have counted the fish in the net and regrettably estimate that we have lost 21,700 fish. The fish were in good health and had not received any medicines lately,” Cummings said.

The company said it has dispatched an investigative team to analyze why the escape occurred, to help ensure that another incident of the sort does not transpire.  

"We are conducting an in-depth investigation to discover the root cause of the breach in the net to ensure it does not reoccur," Cummings said. 

Grieg operates seven pens in Loch Snizort, which have the capacity to house more than 400,000 salmon. 

Last week, the company released its financial results for October to December 2017, noting a lower production trajectory than previously expected – a result due, in part, to sea lice problems, Grieg said. In Shetland, where most of the company’s U.K. operations are based, costs “remain high, mainly because of problems with lice and algae,” according to Grieg. 

Harvested volumes were down to 3,100 metric tons in Shetland for the reported period, a dip from the 3,900 metric tons the company posted for the region during same timeframe in 2016.

"The cost level continued to decline against the previous quarter. The cost per kilogram is, however, expected to increase because of low harvested volumes," Grieg said.

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