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Atlantic Salmon Jump Ship, Swim Free

by Associated Press
The Oregonian, August 6, 2000

Some 4,500 fish escaped near Vancouver Island through a boat's improperly fastened cargo screen

VICTORIA, British Columbia -- Call it the "Great Escape," salmon style.

About 4,500 Atlantic salmon escaped from a boat transporting them to a processing plant.

The fish, raised by Stolt Sea Farms of Campbell River, were part of a cargo of 12,500 market-ready salmon, said federal Fisheries Department spokesman Ron Ginetz.

They were being transported by Orca Shipping of Campbell River in a live boat, a vessel that keeps fish alive by taking in sea water. One of the screens in the cargo hold was not secured properly, and the fish escaped Tuesday into Johnstone Strait off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island.

Commercial gillnetters going after sockeye Thursday were surprised at the large number of Atlantics they were catching.

The escape does not pose a threat to wild salmon, Ginetz said: The possibility of the Atlantic salmon establishing a viable population in Johnstone Strait is remote.

Wild Pacific salmon are much stronger than farmed Atlantic salmon, Ginetz said.

Fisheries officers were monitoring commercial catches, but the department will not attempt to recover the Atlantic salmon.

And charges are unlikely because the escape was clearly an accident, Ginetz said.

Anita Peterson, the north island representative of the B.C. Salmon Farmers Association, said Orca Shipping has taken measures to prevent similar mishaps in future.

Associated Press
Atlantic Salmon Jump Ship, Swim Free
The Oregonian, August 6, 2000

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