Marine Harvest has been fined NOK 530,000 after the Environmental Protection Association reported the escape from the site 10318 Gulestø in Bremanger municipality on 30 April 2015.
A week after the escape, as few as 891 out of at least 30 thousand salmon were caught again. The Swedish Environmental Protection Association has noticed that Marine Harvest has complained about the decision on fines. Something the company has no basis for with the history they have of letting farmed fish escape.
The Environmental Protection Association reported the same company to the police for the escape of at least 166 thousand farmed salmon from the location 19939 Høysteinen at Varaldsøy in Kvinnherad as recently as 9 January 2015. We have also previously reported them to the police for the escape of at least 345 thousand farmed salmon on 1 December 2011 at Indre Skjervøøya in Osen in Trøndelag and 27 November 2013 for the release/escape of at least 127 thousand farmed salmon at Slokkholmen Øst in Leka, - also this in Trøndelag. These 4 escapes alone are considerably larger than the annual influx of wild salmon into Norwegian waterways. In addition, NMF reported Marine Harvest on 16 February 2015 for littering after leaving a lot of waste at a former farming location at Skarvatun in Kvinnherad municipality.
Marine Harvest has such a long list of escapes that it is incomprehensible to NMF if they escape being fined for this violation. Here we would like to refer to a previous quote in Haugesundsposten from the first state attorney Hans Tore Høviskeland in Økokrim:
"It is important that the fine level is set so high that it acts as a deterrent and reduces the number of escaped farmed fish. If the number of escapes does not decrease, we must work to raise the level of punishment in such cases". There is room for that within existing legislation".
In January 2015, the Supreme Court sentenced a production manager to prison due to deliberate underreporting of the salmon lice parasite. In the judgment, the Supreme Court wrote, among other things: "In recent decades, the authorities have allowed strong growth in the farming industry despite the environmental problems that accompany the business. As the Court of Appeal points out, this means that the breeders are given the right to use the natural environment and resources of the general public for their own gain, and there undoubtedly follows from this a special obligation to comply with the conditions and limitations that the public authority has set for the business". And further: "Both consideration for the environment and for the industry thus dictates that, for general preventive reasons, there must be a strict reaction to intentional infringements".
This is a clear signal to the industry, supervision and police and prosecuting authorities, that this must be taken seriously and that such types of offenses must be met with a strict response, - this will apply to salmon escapes, salmon lice and, for example, cases of rule violations that will lead to increased risk of infection, stated state attorney Aud Slettemoen in Økokrim.
The guidance from the Supreme Court shows that it has been highly justified by the Environmental Protection Association to report farmed fish escapes to the police. The fact that we once again get approval for imposing fines is visible proof that this works. Repeated claims from the farming industry that our police reports are unfounded and never lead prove to be wrong once again.
NB: new review by Marine Harvest after this one they are fined for: