Salmon farming company Grieg Seafood said the chlorine leaked into one of their fish slaughterhouses in Norway’s Alta town, killing at least 96,000 fish. The leak is believed to have reached a fjord in Arctic Norway and spread further out into the Atlantic sea.
“This is very sad,” Stine Torheim, manager of the harvesting plant in Alta said in a statement issued by the company on Tuesday. “Our focus is now first and foremost on cleaning up. We will get all facts about this incident on the table to ensure that it will not happen again.”
Roger Pedersen, a spokesperson for the salmon farming company, said the fish that died were in a waiting cage nearby when the leak occurred.
“We are connecting this to a chlorine leak,” Mr Pedersen told Norwegian broadcaster NRK, adding the company was now handling the dead fish “in a responsible way and was investigating why the leak occurred.”
The company statement said it “does not yet have a complete overview of how the leak has affected the environment in the fjord” and added that an independent assessment of the environmental impact will also be carried out.
The company acknowledged the leak had “a short-term, acute impact” on the organisms in the water around the harvesting plant.
It added that the leak did not cause harm to employees or other people, either on land or at sea.
On Twitter, police in northern Norway said “significant quantities of salmon are dead” and that the leaked liquid had flowed into the Atlantic Ocean, adding that emergency services were working to get an overview of the incident.
There was no danger of any toxic chlorine gas on land, with the cause of the leak still being investigated, police spokesperson Stein Hugo Jorergensen told NRK.
Chlorine is used to disinfect processing water at the harvesting plant. The company has emphasised that the chlorine is rapidly diluted and breaks down quickly in water.
Grieg Seafood company, with its headquarters in Norway, is one of the world’s largest salmon farming companies that has its operations in Norway, Canada and off Britain’s Shetland Islands.
Additional reporting by agencies
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