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Wild salmon put at risk as a million farmed fish escape

UK - More than a million farmed salmon have escaped into the wild in the past three years in accidents which scientists fear may be driving the wild salmon population towards extinction.

The figures, released by the Scottish Executive, show that a total of 1.6 million salmon have escaped from fish farms in more than 50 separate accidents since 2000, with 821,512 escaping last year alone. So far this year, official figures show 105,987 of the fish have escaped from salmon farms.

Recent scientific evidence shows that the accidental escape of farmed salmon from pens each year can lead to catastrophically reduced survival of the progeny of wild salmon which breed with the domesticated fish.

Scientists call the effect the "extinction vortex" because they say it could lead to the demise of wild salmon populations which have evolved over thousands of years in particular rivers.

Source: The Telegraph