Farming news

Norway reports an increase in salmon mortality at sea

In 2023, the mortality rate for salmon in the sea phase was 16.7%, up from 16.1% in 2022 .

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Salmon in a cage. Credits: Rudolf Svensen
February 6, 2024

According to the Norwegian Veterinary Institute, 62.7 million farmed salmon died in the sea phase in Norway in 2023, corresponding to 16.7% of farmed salmon released in 2023.

“Both in terms of number and percentage of mortality, these are the highest figures we have recorded so far,” said the department director for fish health and fish welfare at the Veterinary Institute, Edgar Brun.

In 2023, the mortality rate for salmon in the sea phase was 16.7%, up from 16.1% in 2022, an increase of 6 million from 2022. The institute said that around 0.7 million fish have not yet been categorized which may contribute to a minor correction of these overall figures.

Production area 3 (Karmøy to Sotra) had the highest mortality in 2023 with 25%, while production areas 13 (East Finnmark) and 1 (Swedish border to Jæren) both had below 10%.

The Norwegian Institute of Marine Research reported that there were two major extraordinary events last year that affected the mortality rate: jellyfish attacks along almost the entire coast and outbreaks of pancreatic disease (PD) in Nordland.

“If we exclude fish that were affected by these incidents, the mortality is pretty much the same as in previous years,” said researcher Lars Helge Stien.

“Last year brought a change of pace in terms of attention to the health, welfare and mortality of farmed fish, and initiatives were taken in the industry and administration to improve the situation. We will return to what is behind the mortality in 2023 and other conditions that affect the health and welfare of Norwegian farmed fish in the Fish Health Report,” said Brun.