The dramatic loss of salmon cages from a fish farm off Unst on Christmas Day is set to cost the owners around £2.8 million. Meridian Salmon’s parent company Morpol hopes nearly £1.5 million of the cost will be recouped from its insurers.
The 12 cages which broke away were badly damaged during the four weeks they drifted 80 miles across the North Sea. Four of them sank. Morpol has written off equipment to the value of £123,000. It expects to spend about £590,000 putting in new cages and nets.
The difficult search and salvage operation, which involved chartered boats and a spotter plane, cost £363,000 before the cages were brought back to Dales Voe to be dismantled.
The 1,000 tonnes of dead and escaped fish, thought to be about 300,000 in number, has been written off at a cost of £1.77 million.
The costs are detailed in Morpol’s quarterly report to the Norwegian stock exchange Oslo Børs. The company, which is Polish/Norwegian-owned, claims to be the world’s leading smoked salmon producer.