An unknown number of rainbow trout escaped through a hole in a net at a Dawnfresh site on Loch Etive. Photo: File picture.

20,000 salmon escape from Scottish site

Scottish Sea Farms has confirmed that 20,000 salmon and 1,300 wrasse have escaped from its site at Bloody Bay off the island of Mull.

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The incident took place on March 25 and the reason for the escape was described on the Scottish government’s aquaculture website as “predator” – most likely a seal.

The average weight of the salmon, which were due to be harvested next year, was 1.3kg. If the escaped fish had grown to reach 5kg in that time, it is estimated they would have added approximately 100 tonnes of fish.

The wrasse, which were being used as cleanerfish, had an average weight of 60 grams.

The Bloody Bay site where the escape took place is located off Tobermory, Mull, in the Inner Hebrides. Image: Crown Copyright

A spokeswoman for Scottish Sea Farms told “I can confirm that the escape took place. It was due to net failure and an investigation has been launched.”

The incident is believed to be the biggest escape to have occurred in Scotland since May 2016, when 30,000 fish escaped a site in the Outer Hebrides.

In 2009, an estimated 37,000 Atlantic salmon parr escaped from a Scottish Sea Farms site on Loch Frisa, a freshwater loch near Tobermory on Mull.