Nearly 50,000 salmon escaped from storm-damaged fish farm

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image source, Corin Smith

Nearly 50,000 salmon escaped when a fish farm in Argyll broke free from its moorings, it has been revealed.

The North Carradale farm, near Campbeltown, suffered damaged to four of its 10 fish pens during Storm Ellen.

Owner Mowi said inspections by divers revealed the breakage of mooring ropes attached to the farm's seabed anchors was the cause.

Just over 30,000 of the farmed salmon also died as a result of the incident.

Mowi said it has sent the torn ropes to a testing facility in Aberdeen for further investigation.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency said it "shares concerns" regarding the loss of salmon.

She added: "Whilst we are confident that marine pens have been returned to their authorised position and there was no significant pollution, we are liaising with Mowi and Marine Scotland, who have responsibility for fish escapes and their reporting."

The North Carradale farm contained 550,700 salmon before the four pens were damaged in bad weather on 20 August.

Mowi said a total of 48,834 salmon escaped, 30,616 died and a further 125,000 were harvested.

Environmental campaigners have raised concerns about the escaped fish breeding with wild Scottish salmon.

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