FARMED US salmon are to be released and tracked, to monitor what farmed fish would do in the event of an escape.
A report by CBS News states that the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is carrying out the study to find out if claims by researchers from other countries that effects of farmed salmon escapes have little or no effect on the environment are true.
Director of Aquaculture Management with DFO, Geoff Perry, said: ‘We’re doing a series of five simulated escape incidents, so we’re going to release groups of 90 fish at a time in as many different size classes as we can.’
Workers from the DFO will tag farmed salmon, which will then be released from the farm and tracked by scientists.
‘Each of the fish will be implanted with a surgical tag that will monitor their movements, and we have a network of receivers deployed throughout Fortune Bay and around the mouth of rivers and on the Connaigre Peninsula and up into Bay d’Espoir,’ explained Perry.
‘These receivers act like gates, so fish swim near one of these gates and we pick up a signal from it… We have monitored a number of rivers in the province for escapes over the last few years, certainly since 2012, and we’re not seeing very large numbers of escapes in rivers at all. We don’t understand that.
‘Whenever there is an escape incident, no matter how minor or major, we see very few fish ever straying into fresh water, so it’s important to try to get a better understanding of how long they will survive in the wild, whether they will reproduce in the wild, whether they will interact with wild Atlantic salmon in rivers, or whether they will just hand around in the ocean until they starve to death.’
The first 90 fish were released in September. A further 90, from three different sites, will be released this month.