Farmed salmon es­cape near Her­mitage

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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.

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