AST Responds to Farmed Salmon Escape

Editor

Fish&Fly
Staff member
Points
63
Location
Brighton, UK
Issued by the Atlantic Salmon Trust

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As part of the aftermath of Storm Brendan it was recently disclosed that 73,600 salmon, averaging 1.9 kg, escaped when one of the open-cage salmon pens failed. To put the scale of this single escape into context, the total number of wild salmon coming back to the whole of the west coast of Scotland (based on anglers catching approximately 10% of the salmon returning to Scottish rivers and the latest catch returns reported to Fisheries Management Scotland in 2018) was in the region of 35,000 fish, or approximately half of the number from this single escape.

Whilst a single escape of over 70,000 farmed salmon is an unfortunate accident, many more are occurring as since the start of 2019, over 20 incidents of farmed salmon escapes have been reported to the Scottish Government. The combined impact of all these farmed salmon escaping into the wild is not fully known but they do represent a significant risk to the vital recovery of our remaining west coast salmon stocks, as the Scottish Government recognises, through their list of pressures. The Norwegian Government go further and believe that escapes of farmed salmon are the single greatest threat to the wellbeing of wild Atlantic salmon in Norway, through inbreeding and loss of fitness.

What we do know is that the weather in Scotland is getting wilder as a result of climate change and storms, such as Brendan, are going to become more common and violent. As such the standards on how to construct and maintain these open pen cages should be updated to reflect the rapidly changing world they operate in and ensure that there are no further escapes of farmed salmon into the wild. Furthermore, where escapes do occur then all efforts should be taken to recapture them and prevent them from causing harm.

As it is now widely recognised that wild Atlantic salmon stocks across Scotland are in crisis we need the Aquaculture industry to, urgently, both better address the risks that their operations clearly create to wild salmon and to help the wild sector better mitigate the other pressures identified by the Scottish Government.

Collectively, we need to act now, as time is running out for this iconic wild fish.

Source Website
 

lhomme

Well-known member
Points
63
Location
Antwerp
I have advocated many times.that all farmed salmon(apart from broodstock) should be Triploided to prevent interbreeding with wild fish.this single easily acheivable proccess could save the Wild fish.Why do the farmers resist it.(apart from cost''not a lot'')
Ditto, Jim, I mentioned it again on SFF a while ago and didn't even get a reaction. The Norwegians knew this for years. Goes to show how powerful the lobbying of the industry was and still is. The problem has been exported since then to countries where the political will to address it is non-existent or easily subdued. I fully agree that this (easily achievable) practise will have a measurable effect on wild salmon stocks affected by escapees.
 

Laxdale

Well-known member
Points
18
Location
Western Isles, Scotland
Farming triploids were tried on Harris, and proved very uneconomical........aside from the fact that they still ran rivers and, rather than dying, ate all the juvenile fish and grew fat on them. So no point in pushing for that.
"What we do know is that the weather in Scotland is getting wilder as a result of climate change and storms, such as Brendan, are going to become more common and violent."
The above quote is an example of why the AST should revert to its remit of scientific research and leave the sensationalist bull to lobbyists. The AST used to be, and should still be, better than that.
 

lhomme

Well-known member
Points
63
Location
Antwerp
Farming triploids were tried on Harris, and proved very uneconomical........aside from the fact that they still ran rivers and, rather than dying, ate all the juvenile fish and grew fat on them. So no point in pushing for that.
"What we do know is that the weather in Scotland is getting wilder as a result of climate change and storms, such as Brendan, are going to become more common and violent."
The above quote is an example of why the AST should revert to its remit of scientific research and leave the sensationalist bull to lobbyists. The AST used to be, and should still be, better than that.
Would like to see a study on that, as your second claim doesn't underline its credibility. According to you farmed triploid salmon continue to eat once in freshwater. If that would be the case phenotypic plasticity and metabolic adaptation within the species are far greater than we thought and raise the question of the need to grow them in seawater. If they can grow fat in-river, as you say, after osmoregulation, their maturing at sea could be limited to the absolute minimum or even become obsolete. That is not the case, sadly, so forgive me if I doubt your second claim as well. If, on the other hand there is substantial evidence of farmed escapees feeding on freshwater prey, they should be considered an even greater threat than we already know them to be. At least, as triploids, the danger of reproducing would be non-existent and that is an important point to push for.
 

Laxdale

Well-known member
Points
18
Location
Western Isles, Scotland
The Obbe system in the south of Harris is where the triploids were reared. There is still a very large smolt rearing operating in Loch Langavat at the head of the system.
Whilst I knew about the trial, I was speaking to someone only two weeks ago who knew more about it than me.
Maybe contact the Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust if you need to track down information about what went on?
ps....you doubt all you like but I will not be aiding anyone that takes that attitude!
 

lhomme

Well-known member
Points
63
Location
Antwerp
The Obbe system in the south of Harris is where the triploids were reared. There is still a very large smolt rearing operating in Loch Langavat at the head of the system.
Whilst I knew about the trial, I was speaking to someone only two weeks ago who knew more about it than me.
Maybe contact the Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust if you need to track down information about what went on?
ps....you doubt all you like but I will not be aiding anyone that takes that attitude!
The fact you talked to someone who knows more about it than you doesn't make it a fact. Now do you assume triploids feed on freshwater prey and grow fat on it because you heard it somewhere or do you know for a fact they do?
Whatever attitude you may think I have, I'm not looking for your aid. A mere substantiation of your claim would suffice to continue discussing the matter in depth, that's all. It's not my call.
P.S. FYI, I don't doubt there are trials with triploid salmon, not only Atlantic, I doubt them to be "uneconomical" without quantifiable data.
 
The fact you talked to someone who knows more about it than you doesn't make it a fact. Now do you assume triploids feed on freshwater prey and grow fat on it because you heard it somewhere or do you know for a fact they do?
Whatever attitude you may think I have, I'm not looking for your aid. A mere substantiation of your claim would suffice to continue discussing the matter in depth, that's all. It's not my call.
P.S. FYI, I don't doubt there are trials with triploid salmon, not only Atlantic, I doubt them to be "uneconomical" without quantifiable data.
Take that one step further, if triploided farmed salmon eat well in fresh water, then who is to say non triploided farmed salmon dont do same?
The very fact that there is resistance to triploiding farmed salmon has always puzzled me.
Historically, triploided fish always grow (convert food into muscle/body fat) quicker than non triploided fish.
Surely that is a bonus to the fish farmers?
Unless of course there is a no no clause on the end users remit!
regards
Bert
 
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