Escaped farmed cod are a problem for Norwegian fishermen in Åmnes. Photo: Lars-Gøran Ulriksen
Farmed cod that have escaped from a fish farm are causing havoc for fishermen in Åmnes on the west coast of Norway as they call for the Directorate of Fisheries not to deduct the catches from their annual cod quotas.
According to local fisherman, Lars-Gøran Ulriksen (43) from Reipå, this has been occurring for a long time, “perhaps from early autumn last” he tells Norwegian fishing magazine Kyst og Fjord.
A video by the fisherman shows the farmed cod which weigh about three-kilos each, full of roe.
In recent days, the Directorate of Fisheries has received tips about catches of escaped farmed cod in Meløy municipality in Nordland. The fish are all about three kilos in size.
“It is easy to see that this is not wild cod. Lots of fish, exactly the same size,” Ulriksen tells Kyst og Fjord.
He had his nets set in the Meløyfjorden, just north of Åmnes. The cod farm in the municipality is located a few kilometres away, on the outside of Åmøya.
Ulriksen estimates that there are now 8-10 boats that have caught farmed cod.
“My nets are set closest to the cod farm, but boats that operate far away have also caught such cod. This fish has spread throughout Meløy municipality, and perhaps further. It indicates that it has been a while since this fish escaped,” says Ulriksen.
He has called on the Directorate of Fisheries to take samples of the fish and to verify that they are farmed fish and not wild fish, which should therefore not be deducted from his quota. He says:
“I don’t want this fish. I want it sorted, and I don’t want it deducted from my quota. In any case, what we don’t want is for this fish to mix with our local coastal cod population.”
Responding to the incident, the Directorate of Fisheries posted on their website:
In recent days, the Directorate of Fisheries has received tips about catches of escaped farmed cod in Meløy municipality in Nordland. The fish is about 3 kg in size.
The source of the escape is not known. The Directorate of Fisheries is in dialogue with businesses that have fish of the relevant size in the area, and will collect samples of the escaped fish.
Tell us about escaped farmed fish
We want tips on catching farmed cod in the area:
Please attach a picture of the fish.
The tips will be helpful for our assessment of the extent and spread of farmed cod.