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Salmon escape raises alarm over open-net cages

CANADA - An escape of farmed Atlantic salmon from an open-net cage near Campbell River last Thursday is raising fresh concerns about farming practices in British Columbia.

Escaped salmon can be carriers of disease and parasites and compete with wild salmon as they integrate into BC's rivers.

The long-term impact of such escapes are not known, but environmentalists say it would be easy to prevent them with a simple switch in technology.

Dom Repta of Friends of Clayoquot Sound wants the industry to transition from harvesting with open-net cages to closed containment. "We're pretty sure you can grow fish in a tank," says Repta.

All farmed salmon in BC is harvested in open-net cages.

A provincial committee on sustainable aquaculture recently recommended the farmed salmon industry move to closed-containment harvesting. "We hope the provincial government will listen to their own committee," says Repta.

It is still not known how many of the fish escaped from the Saranac farm in Clayoquot Sound last week. It is also not known how many have been caught since the escape.

The farm, containing 20,000 fish, is owned by Mainstream Canada, a subsidiary of Norwegian multinational Cermaq aquaculture.

Source: TheProvince



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