Marine Harvest reports 24,572 salmon escape following storm damage to its Hellisay sites, Isle of Barra.
Following weather damage to a sea farm off Barra in November, Marine Harvest has reported an escape of salmon from its Hellisay sea farm to Marine Scotland.
Notification of a sustained storm event and potential for escape were reported on 11 November, and confirmed when staff were able to safely access the site to investigate and repair the damage and inventory the fish population. The investigation and recount confirmed that 24,572 salmon, weighing approximately 1.1 kilograms, escaped from a netting tear to one cage. The remaining stocked cages did not suffer significant damage.
No staff were injured during the multiple storm events. The salmon held on site have since been moved to other farming locations on Uist in order to secure the stock. The equipment on site was new, robust and exceeded the Scottish Technical Standards, but suffered due to the high wave heights experienced in the storm events.
“We are very disappointed that our infrastructure was unable to withstand these severe weather challenges,” commented Gideon Pringle, operations director (farming). “Our priority is to keep our employees safe during these extreme events, but admittedly need to do a better job at keeping our fish contained, especially at our high energy sites.”
The company will review the site’s moorings, nets and cages used at offshore locations, and make the necessary changes to ensure the site can effectively withstand the most challenging weather conditions.
The company’s last sizeable escape occurred June 2015 at its Eilean Grianain salmon farm.