Wild salmon fears as fish escape from farm cages
THOUSANDS of farmed fish have escaped from their cages, raising fears for wild salmon rivers in Argyll and Bute.
The escape from a Scottish Salmon Company farm at Geasgill on Mull was reported to Marine Scotland after employees recorded low numbers during a routine grading exercise.
The Scottish Gamekeepers Association (SGA) Fishing Group said 11,040 farmed salmon entered rivers including the River Ba, which has a class one rating for salmon conservation.
Ghillies in the area have ordered that any farmed salmon caught must be killed and not returned to the river.
Gamekeepers also say there is ‘real concern’ that crossbreeding between farmed salmon and wild salmon will weaken the wild gene pool.
Greg Marsh of the SGA Fishing Group said: ‘People here are up in arms. What effect is this going to have on the wild fish?’
A Scottish Salmon Company spokesman said: ‘We take the health and well-being of our fish and the surrounding environment very seriously and have reviewed procedures.’