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Arctic Fish has reported an escape in one of its marine pens at Kvígindisdal in Patreksfjörður discovered during an inspection on August 21. The company immediately activated its contingency plan which consisted of, among other things, netting the fjord and emptying the dams. In addition, Arctic Fish said that its employees have worked closely with the Icelandic Fisheries Agency (Fiskistofa) and the Icelandic Food Agency (Matvælastofnun) in investigating the leak.

The company apologizes

“We regret that farmed salmon escaped from our pens in Patreksfjörður,” said Stein Ove Tveiten, CEO of Arctic Fish. “This is a matter of great concern to us. Therefore, we have taken steps to reduce the possible negative effects of the release. We think we know how the holes formed and are now working to make sure this doesn’t happen again,” he continued.

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The CEO of Arctic Fish also said that, at the same time, the company has proposed measures to the Icelandic Fisheries Agency and has offered to pay the costs of these measures. Stein Ove Tveiten said this “should ensure that the salmon that enter the rivers do not mix with wild salmon.”

Drift diving to recover escaped fishes

The Icelandic salmon farming company recognizes that escapes from sea pens are one of its main operational sustainability risks. It is, therefore, taking this incident very seriously and management is working to find ways to minimize the impact of this escape. They have proposed to Fiskistofa to investigate the possibility of using so-called drift diving in the rivers where the farmed fish have been found. With this method, the rivers are selectively combed, checking for hidden farmed fish which, if found, are removed.

According to Arctic Fish, this method has already proven successful in similar cases in Norway, where they have a lot of experience in this regard. The company, together with other aquaculture companies, has established contact with parties that have dealt with similar issues in that country and are willing to undertake and finance the project. Fiskistofa, for its part, has presented the idea to the National Federation of Fisheries Associations.

About Arctic Fish

Arctic Fish is one of Iceland’s largest salmon farming companies. The company, owned by Mowi since the end of 2022, operates in the country’s West Fjords and holds licenses for 27,100 metric tons of salmon and trout production. Recognized as one of Iceland’s leading salmon producers, Arctic Fish has a sustainable licensing framework, actively operates in four fjords and has applications for an additional fjord. This expansion that could raise total capacity to 31,900 tons in the coming years.

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