Quantcast

Thousands of Farmed Salmon Escape Into the Wild

Animals
Christina Felsing / Getty Images

By Dan Nosowitz

The CBC reports that between 2,000 and 3,000 farmed salmon escaped the confines of Cooke Aquaculture's Newfoundland location, and are now somewhere in the wild.


Salmon farms like Cooke's, called "open pen" farms, place large nets around an area of ocean and raise very high densities of fish to market size. Cooke told the CBC that a rope came undone in two places, opening up large holes in the net which allowed the salmon to escape into the open ocean.

Cooke did not, according to the CBC, alert anyone to the breach until local fishermen began noticing farmed salmon in their catch, raising fears that the company is not forthright enough with its mistakes. Cooke says that it is now, with the partnership of the provincial Department of Fisheries and Land Resources, attempting to round up the lost fish.

Escapes of farmed salmon into the wild are not uncommon; as a matter of fact, this isn't even the first time that this specific company has faced this issue. In August of 2017, Cooke's west coast operation also suffered a breach of Atlantic salmon, this time into the northern Pacific.

Escaped farmed fish are not an insignificant problem. Farmed fish are much more likely than wild to be infected with various parasites and viruses, a natural product of being crammed into a smaller space with more fish, which they can then transmit to wild fish. (A spokesman for Cooke stated that the escaped fish do not have the virus infectious salmon anemia or parasites.) Farmed fish also pose the same risks as any other introduced species, potentially outcompeting native fish for food and spawning grounds. Speaking to NPR about the August 2017 breach, the director of the Wild Fish Conservancy Northwest, Kurt Beardslee, called the breach "an environmental nightmare."

Bill Bryden, a Newfoundland-based salmon researcher and opponent of open-pen farming, told VOCM that he believes Cooke's estimate of the number of escaped fish to be extremely low: The pen contained 75,000 fish as of the end of 2017.

Reposted with permission from our media associate Modern Farmer.

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

One of the 25 new Long Beach Transit hybrid gasoline-electric buses on April 23, 2009. Jeff Gritchen / Digital First Media / Orange County Register / Getty Images

In Long Beach, California, some electric buses can charge along their route without cords or wires.

When a bus reaches the Pine Avenue station, it parks over a special charging pad. While passengers get on and off, the charger transfers energy to a receiver on the bottom of the bus.

Read More Show Less
Semi trucks travel along I94 on June 21 near Lake forest, Illinois. Scott Olson / Getty Images

The Trump administration pushed through an exemption to clean air rules, effectively freeing heavy polluting, super-cargo trucks from following clean air rules. It rushed the rule without conducting a federally mandated study on how it would impact public health, especially children, said the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Inspector General Charles J. Sheehan in a report released yesterday, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored

A time-restricted eating plan provides a new way to fight obesity and metabolic diseases that affect millions of people worldwide. RossHelen / iStock / Getty Images Plus

By Satchin Panda and Pam Taub

People with obesity, high blood sugar, high blood pressure or high cholesterol are often advised to eat less and move more, but our new research suggests there is now another simple tool to fight off these diseases: restricting your eating time to a daily 10-hour window.

Read More Show Less
Kunhui Chih / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Plastic debris washed up on remote islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans has killed hermit crabs, which mistake the plastic for shells, as CNN reported.

Read More Show Less
A man and his dog walk past an H&M store in Stockholm, Sweden on March 11, 2014. Melanie Stetson Freeman / The Christian Science Monitor via Getty Images

By Ashutosh Pandey

H&M's flagship store at the Sergels Torg square in Stockholm is back in business after a months-long refurbishment. But it's not exactly business as usual here.

Read More Show Less