Marine Harvest Scotland suffers salmon escape
Undercurrent News, 16 June 2015
Thousands of salmon worth about £240,000 have escaped from a Marine Harvest farm in Carradale, Scotland, The Press and Journal reports.
The 16,000 fish, weighing an average of 10 pounds each, escaped through a hole in the net at the Argyll site, following stormy seas and winds of up to 70mph in the early hours of June 2.
It was the biggest escape from a Scottish mainland marine salmon farm since 2009 at Strone Point in Argyll when nearly 59,000 fish escaped from a farm operated by Lighthouse Caledonia.
Scottish Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA) said the fish are mature, therefore they will migrate into important salmon rivers in the Firth of Clyde, genetically diluting wild stocks.
“There is a real danger that these fish may survive in sufficient numbers to breed with wild salmon in this area, leading to the genetic dilution of the wild fish population with farmed fish, which are largely descended from Norwegian and not Scottish fish. This is very bad news for the long term survival of western Scotland’s wild salmon,” said Guy Linley-Adams, solicitor to the S&TA.
Marine Harvest maintains that the fish were not mature, and therefore will not attempt to migrate into local rivers, but will swim out to sea. The company said it farms with specially selected slow maturing stocks.
“The escape happened as the result of a tear in the net during the bad weather conditions. As the fish were immature they would have headed straight out to sea,” said Allan Sutherland, managing director of Marine Harvest Scotland.