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Norwegian investors lose $5 million in farmed bluefin die-off

The company reported high losses due to damage caused during the transfer process.

Norwegian investors in Spanish tuna farming company Fortuna Mare lost a sizeable chunk of its investment when seawater transfer issues led to NOK 40 million (€4.4 million/$4.7 million) in mortalities, according to IntraFish Media sister company Dagens Næringsliv.

Investors including two former Carnegie broker Anders Onarheim, Pareto’s Lars Nordby, Alexander Vik, Arne Blystad, Eigil Spetalen and Tom Bergesen were among those who invested in the tuna project, which launched in 2013.

Fortuna Mare Chairman Harald Dahl said the company succeeded in the fry production stage, but things fell apart at the seawater stage.

“There were bigger problems than we had assumed in the transport of the fish to the sea cages and the 100 days after,” said Dahl.

“Smolts are only five grams and between 10-12 centimeters when they’re transferred to the sea,” he said.

“When the fish came into the sea after the transport they were stressed, and very susceptible to disease."

Due to rapid growth and high prices, the company estimated 40,000 fish were enough to make profit. Of the 16,000 juveniles stocked in 2015, only 1,200 fish were left after nine months.

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