Over 300,000 farmed salmon have been ‘lost’ by Meridian Salmon when 12 salmon cages broke loose in Shetland on Christmas Day.
A spokesman for Meridian said “It’s important to make a distinction between fish loss and fish escape. Over 300,000 adult Atlantic salmon were involved in the incident, but it remains unclear whether an escape of live farmed fish did occur or whether the fish died during the incident.”
Which means that there is a strong possibility that 300,000 farmed salmon are swimming about in the North Atlantic creating havoc in the marine ecosystem.
Why we need to be worried
When farmed salmon escape they can interact with wild salmon causing significant changes in the wild salmon stocks during ten salmon generations (about 40 years). In rivers with a high number of escaped farmed salmon it appears that the population is gradually dominated by the offspring of farmed and hybrids of salmon. Even after many decades without new escapes, it is possible that these populations will be dominated by descendants of escaped farmed fish.