Salmon farm breaks in storm, 50,000 fish released into Tasmanian waters

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Australian salmon farmer Petuna claims to have lost thousands of small salmon when a pen broke from its mooring. 

The Environmental Protection Authority has been been notified by Petuna of two escapes of salmon smolt from its finfish lease in Macquarie Harbour, reports The Advocate.

About 50,000 small atlantic salmon escaped from the nets of Petuna’s Macquarie Harbour farms on Tasmania’s west coast, the company announced.

Petuna strategy manager Richard Miller told the publication that the fish – each which weighed about 250 grams – escaped during rough West Coast weather when a pen broke from its mooring.

“Petuna pro-actively reports fish losses across its farms. There have been two such losses in the past 12 months, both of which involved only small size fish,” said Miller.

Australia’s biggest salmon company Tassal shares salmon farming operations with Petuna in Macquarie Harbour.

The two companies stuck a deal in 2018 for the joint venture. ABC reported that the arrangement will allow the “two companies to share leases and separate baby fish from mature fish, which the companies said will prevent fish disease and improve biosecurity”.

There has been no reports that Tassal has lost any fish.

SalmonBusiness has contacted Petuna and Tassal for more information.