”Russian salmon infection comes from Norway”

Russian salmon farms are located only few kilometers from Norway and infections and can easily spread across the border.

The infection which is haunting the aquaculture industry in the Kola Peninsula probably has its origin in Norway, a representative of Russian veterinary authorities says.

According to Aleksey Alekseenko, a representative of the Federal Service for Veterinary and Phytosanitary Surveillance, a thorough inspection of the premises of company Russian Aquaculture has revealed a ”pretty serious situation”.

In a comment to newspaper Vedomosti he argues that the infection ”probably comes from Norway”.

As much as up to 2000 tons of salmon is believed to have died in the net cages of Russian Aquaculture only the last few months. Major parts of the dead fish has been dumped in several illegal landfills in the region.

Company spokesman Ilya Bereznyuk confirms to newspaper Vedomosti that it is a breakout of infection by several species of the genus Flexibacter, which has knocked out the salmon farms.

Russian Aquaculture has two facilities along the northern coast of the Kola Peninsula, not far from the border to Norway. According to Bereznyuk, about 808 tons of salmon died in one of the company’s facilities in the period from late June to late September.

Earlier this year, another 1000 tons of salmon died from an outbreak of lice, Bereznyuk adds.

The big volumes of dead fish have major consequenses for the company’s economy. In its 2015 first half report, the company recorded losses of 325 million rubles (€4.42 million).

As previously reported, the Russian Aquaculture has big growth plans in the Kola fjords. By year 2020, the company intends to produce as much as 25.000 tons of salmon in a total of 10 salmon farms. In 2014, the company produced 4500 tons of salmon and another 600 tons of trout in two facilities.

There is one more company operating salmon farms in Murmansk Oblast. The company Russian Salmon has farm facilities in the Pechenga Bay, just few km from Norway.

It is not known whether Russian Salmon has similar problems like Russian Aquaculture. However, satellite images obtained by BarentsObserver show a big number net cages located very close to eachother over a small part of the bay.