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A threat to wild salmon

July 7, 2008 | 12:58 pm

Atlantic_salmon_2Let us try to explain why you should care that tens of thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon escaped from their pen into an inlet off the British Columbia Coast:

If they survive, the Toronto Globe and Mail reports, they could threaten already dwindling indigenous salmon stocks. Provincial officials are investigating the incident, and the company owning the farm may face charges.

Environmental groups say the mass escape demonstrates the dangers fish farms pose to wild salmon. Strong ocean currents shifted a net holding 30,000 salmon in Marine Harvest's Frederick Arm farm site near Campbell River, pulling down a corner of the cage and allowing the fish to swim free, said Clare Backman of Marine Harvest. The company is not sure whether any fish were left in the pen, but it's possible all 30,000 escaped. ...

Jennifer Lash, executive director of the Living Oceans Society, said if the Atlantic salmon breed, they'll compete with wild salmon, whose stocks have already fallen sharply.

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