Update: Catches of Atlantic salmon escapees are all over the news since this event occurred. Estimates of the number of escaped salmon are now as high as 160,000 – far higher than first guessed!
A reported net failure has enabled the escape of thousands of farmed Atlantic salmon into the waters of the San Juan Islands from a facility operated by BC-based Cooke Aquaculture. News reports here and here provide details.
Ron Warren, Assistant Director of the fish program for Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife said they believe about 4,000 to 5,000 of the 305,000 fish in the Cooke Aquaculture net pen escaped.
The fish are safe to eat and were last medicated with antibiotics in 2016, he added.
Washington’s Department of Fish and Wildlife is calling for anglers to catch as many of the Atlantic salmon as is possible. Nobody is thrilled about the opportunity, as most are concerned about the impact of an exotic species let loose in the wild of our west coast waters.
The image here is courtesy of DFO and may help you identify one of these escapees should you catch one: