Marine Harvest investigating “abnormally high” number of smolt deaths

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Marine Harvest has confirmed another large mortality event involving smolt, this time at Fjaera, a site about 75 kilometres south of Norwegian seafood trading hub, Bergen.

“It’s true that we have lost an abnormally large number of smolt at nursery in Fjaera,” head of company communications, Ola Helge Hjetland, told SalmonBusiness, adding that losses were less than 500 tonnes. He wouldn’t disclose a precise figure.

Hjetland said the Norwegian Food Safety Authority, its suppliers and experts in recirculated aquaculture systems, or RAS, had been called in to look for physical evidence of what went wrong over the Easter break. Hjetland confirmed that intake water would also be checked for possible contamination.

“What remains is to go through the affected tanks to see fault lays in the technology, the physical solutions or or something to do with the water intake or pollution. There’s much to go through,” he said.

It isn’t the first time the Fjaera facility was the scene of mass mortality. In March 2017, the bacteria Yersinia ruckeri killed fry that were just 0.38 grams.

“It’s true that we had another event a while back. Far fewer fish were lost that time. We see no relation between the two events for the moment. We’re going through all these types of cases that we’ve had to see if their is any connection,” Hjetland said.

Read Over 700,000 smolt die at Marine Harvest site