1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Thousands of fish farm trout escape into Danish sea

October 12, 2016

Up to 80,000 rainbow trout have escaped into open waters after a cargo ship crashed into a Danish fish farm. Danes have been encouraged to take up their poles and start fishing, as the trout could damage the sea habitat.

Image: picture-alliance/dpa/J. Stratenschulte

A cargo vessel on the Baltic Sea en route to Denmark collided with a harbor fish farm on Tuesday, freeing between 70,000 and 80,000 rainbow trout. The incident took place between the Danish island Funen and Jutland.

The trout were worth up to 10 million Danish crowns ($1.5 million, 1.3 million euros), Tim Petersen, co-owner and director at Snaptun Fisk told Reuters news agency.

The fish weigh around 3 kg (6.6 lb) each and were set to be slaughtered this week.

Bildergalerie nach Europa eingeschleppte Tiere und Pflanzen Regenbogenforellen
The freed fish may pose a threat to wild sea troutImage: picture-alliance/dpa

"We will seek compensation from the ship owners," Petersen said.

The accident could potentially damage the sea habitat as the newly freed rainbow trout swim towards inland rivers in search of food.

Soren Knabe, director of the fishing association Vandpleje Fyn, said the accident could not have come at a worse time for the sea habitat.

"Sea trout are currently coming up into Funen streams to spawn, and sea trout eggs are a favorite food for rainbow trout," The Copenhagen Post reported Knabe as saying.

"The escaped rainbow trout will follow right behind the tails of the sea trout and eat their eggs," he said.

Knabe also encouraged all fishermen in the area to grab their gear and start fishing. 

The escaped rainbow trout are unaccustomed to life in the open sea and are expected to survive only a few months.

Ulrik Jeppesen, a local fisherman, said the fish will start biting in four to five days after they adjust to life in the open sea.

Although Jeppesen viewed the accident as a "tragedy" for the marine habitat, he admitted "I will probably make a trip or two out there."

Catch it yourself

rs/bw (Reuters, The Copenhagen Post)