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Dawnfresh has said that thirty-three thousand trout escaped from one of its farms into Loch Etive recently after a hole was found in one of the nets.
Alison Hutchins, farming director for Dawnfresh Farming, said: ‘On June 14, while our team were assisting the local salmon fisheries board with a sample count on fish on Loch Etive, we discovered a number of trout which had come from one of our farms.
‘Fish health and welfare is among our top concerns and we have well-trained professional teams at all of our sites so we take these incidents very seriously and are always looking at ways to improve in the future.
‘A Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) was used to inspect the nets as soon as possible, which was in the early hours of June 15, and a hole was found in one of the nets. This was immediately fixed.’
‘As is standard practice in these instances, we undertook an immediate investigation in to what caused this fault and ordered a count of the cage at the first available opportunity, which was Wednesday (June 26) when a wellboat visited the farm. We have now confirmed, and informed Marine Scotland, that the number of fish missing from the pen is a little over thirty-three thousand.
‘We looked at option to seine net the River Awe but this proved impossible due to current and debris. Our investigations of the incident thus far indicate that the hole in the net was caused while upgrading our bridles to chains from nylon.’
‘Marine Scotland investigators visited the site on Thursday (June 27) to conduct their own investigation in to what happened.
‘We have already put in place measures to prevent this situation from happening again and increased the frequency of net inspections using the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).’