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ผู้เขียน หัวข้อ: UK, Concern as 30,000 farmed fish escape  (อ่าน 2066 ครั้ง)
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« เมื่อ: กรกฎาคม 15, 2007, 12:45:32 PM »

Source: The Scotsman                                                         World News    15/07/2007 10:34:10


John Ross

More than 30,000 fish have escaped from Scottish farms in the first four months of this year - sparking fears they could harm wild stocks.

 

The Scottish Salmon Producers' Organisation (SSPO), which represents 95 per cent of the country's farmed salmon production, has now started publishing details online of known "breaches of containment".

 

It has revealed that 8,213 salmon were lost from a farm in Shetland and 18,500 fish escaped from containments net in Scotasay, off Harris, and the Scottish Executive yesterday confirmed another escape, of 4,000 fish in Shetland on 3 March, bringing the total until April to 30,713.

 

Conservationists and wild-fish interests say farmed fish can carry disease and affect the genes of wild species if they reproduce.

 

Roger Brooks, chairman of the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland, described the industry's reporting move as "laudable". But he claimed the true figure is "many times" higher than the one being made public.

 

Mr Brooks said: "If they can get away with it they don't tell anybody about escapes.

 

"If all the fish farmers together say 'it wasnae me', proving it is very difficult.

 

"In an average year there are ten escaped salmon in the sea for every wild fish returning to Scotland. That is appalling.

 

"They are contaminating the countryside, their genetics are mucking up wild fish when they cross breed and they are just a pest."

 

Scottish Executive figures show that between 2002 - when statutory reporting began - and 2006, the number of escapees totals 1.58 million.

 

However, annual figures have dropped from 312,655 to 155,653 over that period.

 

Sid Patten, SSPO chief executive, said: "There is a lot of misinformation. We have nothing to hide. There is a certain line taken by certain environmentalists who should know better that our fish farmers are standing on pens throwing fish into the sea and it's ludicrous.

 

"We are investing millions in improving containment all the time. But it's a risky business which is subject to the weather and predators such as seals."

 

Mr Patten added "the jury is still out" on whether farmed fish harm wild stocks

 

"Farmed fish generally will not survive for any length of time [in the wild], especially if they are small," he said.

 

A Scottish Executive spokeswoman said: "Available scientific evidence shows that the interbreeding of escaped farm salmon with native salmon can have a negative impact on wild stocks. However, the full extent of the actual problem is unknown and difficult to establish with available methods and existing data."

 


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The ones that get away


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As well as representing a loss of assets for fish-farmers, escapes raise concerns for conservation and wild-fish interest.

 

Escaped fish may represent a disease hazard, occupy habitats of wild fish and have the potential to interbreed with wild fish, affecting their genes.

 

To address the concerns, the Scottish Executive set up a working group which included fish-farmers and wild-fishery groups. It concluded there will always be some circumstances which could result in escapes, that recapture efforts would have limited effect and that the main focus should be on containment.

 

The Executive now requires containment and contingency plans for each site in support of all fish-farm applications.

 

Since 2002, it has been compulsory to report escapes.

 

The Aquaculture and Fisheries (Scotland) Bill, passed this year, also brought in powers aimed at eradicating bad practice by using a code of practice.

 

It puts a duty on fish-farmers to collect, retain and make available for inspection information relating to the containment of fish. It also gives powers to inspectors to check whether fish have escaped from a farm and to investigate the risk of potential escapes.

 

Enforcement action can be taken against farms that do not have satisfactory measures in place to contain their fish.
 

Source or related URL: http://news.scotsman.com
 
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