Loss of 20,000 salmon could hit company for around £100,000
THOUSANDS of farmed salmon, worth in excess of £100,000, have escaped from a fish farm off the Isle of Mull in one of the industry’s biggest breaches.
Around 20,000 Atlantic salmon escaped from a Mull fish farm at Bloody Bay, run by Scottish Sea Farms (SSF), on March 25, according to figures released on Scotland’s Aquaculture website.
It cites a ‘predator’ as the reason for the salmon escape, and for the release of 1,300 wrasse, used as a ‘cleaner fish’ to control lice, on the same day.
Scottish Sea Farms blamed a tear to a net wall, most probably caused by a seal, which was ‘fully repaired within hours of notification. SSF typically use acoustic deterrents,’ a spokesperson explained, ‘but on a precautionary principle their use is prohibited at this specific location.’
The cost is ‘likely to exceed £100,000 in stock value’, she said, adding: ‘This loss is deeply regretted by farm staff and SSF.’
The breach is the biggest in Scotland since 300,000 salmon escaped from a site in the Outer Hebrides last May, according to Scotland’s Aquaculture.
The escape could have environmental consequences for the Sound of Mull, but the impact was ‘unclear at this point’, the SSF spokesperson added. She said: ‘The fish were young and in excellent health and most likely to head directly to the deep sea.
‘Records show a very high level of containment compliance over the years,’ adding that fish escapes of this size are ‘extremely unusual within SSF’.
Scotland’s environmental watchdog SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) said ‘an escape may result in pressures on local water environment, in respect of interactions with wild salmon’.