It was recently reported that an escape of around 52,000 salmon occurred from a Scottish Salmon Company’s site in Portree on December 31st 2020. The company reported that the escape was caused by a seal attack, with some of the fish escaping through the damaged nets and some succumbing to wounds or stress. To put that number of farmed fish into context, it is thought to be greater than the entire run of wild Atlantic salmon across the whole of the West Coast of Scotland.
The question that springs to mind is why are these escapes still occurring as seals damaging open pen cages have been happening for as long as such pens have been used at sea. With the damage that escaped farmed salmon can cause to the beleaguered populations of wild Atlantic salmon, it must be time that such escapes are confined to history.
Working with Marine Scotland, local fisheries Trusts and the Scottish Salmon Company, Fisheries Management Scotland are monitoring the impact of the escape and are considering appropriate efforts to help recapture the fish where possible.
As we are no longer in the fishing season, Fisheries Management Scotland are not asking anglers to catch these fish at this stage as doing so without a license is illegal. To read Fisheries Management Scotland’s full response, click here.