Wild salmon fears as fish es­cape from farm cages

Scottish Daily Mail - - Week­ender - By Daily Mail Re­porter

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.’

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