Norway’s fish farmers have been told they will have to shoulder a larger share of the bill for recovering escaped salmon in future.
Fisheries and Seafood Minister Odd Emil Ingebrigtsen has announced a crackdown following a large number of escapes in the last two years.
Companies have been accused by politicians on all sides of not doing enough to prevent salmon and trout from leaving their cages. He said:
‘The farmers will now have pay when fish escape. We are tightening the requirements to ensure they pick up a large part of the bill.’
Companies will now be required to report to the Directorate of Fisheries as soon as they suspect an escape. They will also have a legal duty to implement measures to catch any escaped salmon.
The statement pointed out that escaped farmed salmon, if they find their way up-river, can cross with wild salmon, which can affect breeding.
The fish farming industry association for fishing for escaped farmed fish known as OURO, will implement measures in the rivers if the proportion of escaped fish is too high.
The Directorate of Fisheries will be able to apply for reimbursement of any costs from Ouro. This also applies to fishing measures in acute incidents and even when the source or owner of escaped fish is unknown.
Ingebrigtsen said the tougher measures were both simpler and in line with the principle that the polluter must pay.
It is more than a year ago since a previous Fisheries Minister, Harald T. Nesvik, summoned the industry and told firms they had to do more.