Farmed salmon escape near Hermitage
Cold Ocean Salmon has reported an escape of salmon from a single marine cage at a company grow-out site near Hermitage, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) said Tuesday.
The escape is believed to have happened after the company carried out work on the net July 27, DFO said in a statement, adding divers fixed the issue July 30.
The company estimates 2,000 to 3,000 salmon, weighing three to five pounds each, escaped from a cage, DFO stated. According to the company’s records, the cage contained about 75,000 salmon as of Dec. 31, 2017.
“Our role is to advise on recapture methods for any salmon escaped from aquaculture farms. DFO fishery officers are carrying out monitoring in the Hermitage area to support detection of escaped fish, and have observed farmed salmon in the waters in this area,” DFO stated. “The department has worked with the company and provincial aquaculture authorities to implement recapture efforts that are currently underway.”
The provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources is responsible for the containment of fish at aquaculture farms.
With an aquaculture salmon escape, there is the potential for impacts on wild salmon populations, including ecological impacts, the transmission of diseases to wild fish and genetic impacts from interbreeding, the provincial department said.
But while there is completion for food by escaped farmed salmon, farmed salmon suffer high death rates in the wild because they don’t have the skills to avoid predators and they have limited feeding abilities, the province said.
There has been no indication of disease associated with this incident, according to the provincial department.
DFO science is researching the genetic impacts of farm salmon escapes on wild salmon populations.