In May 2019, over eight million farmed salmon suffocated in northern Norway as a result of a persistent algae bloom. The estimated economic loss from the 10,000 tonnes of farmed salmon is as much as 620 million Norwegian Kroner (EUR64m). The enormous algae blooms, which occurred due to warm weather, spread rapidly around Norway’s northern coast, sticking to fish’s gills and suffocating them. While wild fish can swim away from the lethal clouds of aquatic organism, farmed fish are trapped at the mercy of the algae. Harmful algae blooms occur when the normally occurring aquatic plants grow out of control due to warm weather. Some are attributing the severity of these algae attacks to climate change.
Norway is the world’s leading exporter on Salmon and so the deaths are expected to have a major impact on the world market for salmon. Norway will likely see about half of the expected growth in the salmon industry wiped out this year as a result, and prices for salmon may rise around the world. Norway exported 1.24 million tonnes salmon in 2018, up 2.5 percent from 2017, according to data from Statistics Norway. In 2019 expected growth was projected to be around 4% but this may change as a result of algae attacks.