Ecological ‘disaster’ as 74,000 fish escape farm

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Mohn Aqua, based on the Enterprise Park in Forres, Moray, deliver technology and control systems for aquaculture. Core product areas are Underwater Cameras & Sensors (water quality, weather, current), Acoustic deterrents (to help prevent seal and sea lion attacks) and fish counting, grading and biomass estimation products (made by VAKI but supported and installed by Mohn Aqua). In mid-July 2012, the Mohn Aqua engineers installed the VAKI system on the Scottish Seafarms Ltd Salmon farms in Loch Nevis, near Mallaig. Here, Mohn Aqua engineers out on one of the farm rings.

Tens of thousands of salmon have escaped from a fish farm off Colonsay – with campaigners warning of an ecological “disaster” for wild fish.

Norwegian fish farming giant Mowi has revealed that a cage was damaged when Storm Brendan passed through the area last week.

Almost 74,000 fish escaped through a tear in the cage netting.

The incident is the third major escape from Mowi’s new generation of high capacity offshore sites in Scotland in just over a year.

Last October and in November 2018 more than 48,000 salmon escaped from the firm’s Hellisay site in the Western Isles.

Escapes have an economic impact on fish farming companies.

Conservationists and angling groups also have concerns that breeding between farmed and wild salmon harms wild fish stocks.

We are very disappointed that this structural failure has occurred,” says David MacGillivray, Mowi’s regional farm manager. “Despite storm Brendan severely battering many parts of Scotland’s coast last week and Colonsay being a remote and particularly exposed location, we expect our modern infrastructure to withstand these challenges.”

The farm’s net pens exceed both the Scottish and Norwegian technical standards for net pen design,” Mowi added.

The incident is the third major escape from Mowi’s new generation off offshore, high-energy sites in Scotland in the last 14 months.