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

Escape rate may have trebled

Preliminary figures suggest that around 43,000 salmon escaped from Scottish sites during 2016, almost three times as many as the 16,005 reported during the previous year.

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According to the latest government statistics, seven escapes involving salmon were reported over the course of the year, with numbers in each incident varying from 50 to 30,000 fish.

The areas where the most escape incidents occurred were the Western Isles, where two incidents led to the escape of 30,050 fish in total, while the numbers of escapes in a third incident are still unknown. Producers in Shetland reported three incidents – one of 2-3,000 fish, one of 829 and one of up to 10,000. Meanwhile, on mainland Scotland, only one salmon escape incident was reported – in which 50-70 parr escaped from a freshwater loch site. One rainbow trout escape of 200-300 fish has been recorded, compared to one incident involving 2,091 trout in 2015.

Human error was given as the prime reason for three of the escape incidents and bad weather for two. Equipment failure accounted for three incidents – one relating to a hole in the net, one to a transfer pipe failure and one due to chaffing.


Preliminary statistics (up to the end of November) from Norway’s Directorate of Fisheries reveal 36 reports of escape events in 2016, with around 105,000 salmon, 60,000 rainbow trout involved – down from the 157,000 salmon and 84,000 rainbow trout reported in 2015.