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Anglers' anger as trout escape from fish farm

UK - One of Scotland's shyest mammals - the otter - was caught in the crossfire yesterday as the conflict between wild Atlantic salmon anglers and fish-farm companies escalated.

Officials of the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards in Scotland were furious at the escape of an estimated 30,000 young rainbow trout from a fish farm into Loch Earn in Perthshire after otters managed to make 20 holes in the nets surrounding cages at the site. Advert for The Scotsman Digital Archive

They said it was "farcical" that the cages at the fish farm were not robust enough to prevent such an attack.

The row erupted after the Scottish Executive's rural affairs department sent out an alert to fishing interests, informing them about the escape from Drummond Fish Farm, operated by Scottrout Farming, one of the country's leading farmed trout companies.

It said the "otter" holes - each between 30cm and 100cm in circumference - had been found between two and five metres under the surface. The escape happened on 28 July but wild fish interests were not notified until 9 August.

Andrew Wallace, the director of the salmon fishery boards group, said the report "should be a source of acute embarrassment to the Scottish freshwater fish farming industry".