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Escape calls high energy salmon sites into question

20 January 2020, at 5:14pm

Mowi Scotland has confirmed that 73,600 salmon averaging 1.9 kilograms escaped from their site off the island of Colonsay after a pen was damaged by storm Brendan.

The post-storm inspection revealed a structural failure in one of the 12 pens, which had caused a tear in the netting.

Mowi's site off Colonsay is one of the most isolated and exposed net pen farms in the world.
Mowi's site off Colonsay is one of the most isolated and exposed net pen farms in the world.

While the performance of the fish in these farms has been greatly admired, their ability to stand up to storm conditions has been called into question following this latest escape

“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. The company and equipment supplier are immediately reviewing the net pen’s manufacturing process.

The incident is the third major escape from Mowi's new generation off offshore, high-energy sites in Scotland in the last 14 months. It follows on from two incidents at their Hellisay sites, in October 2019 and November 2018, in which 23,970 and 24,572 salmon respectively escaped.