What is the source of NB escaped salmon

CBC News - NB

Conservation group calls on aquaculture industry to find source of escaped salmon

Atlantic Canada Salmon Farmers Association will test fish found in N.B. river by Atlantic Salmon Federation

CBC News Posted: Oct 07, 2017 7:00 AM AT

ASF Biologists Eric Brunsdon holds a farmed salmon escapee collected Oct. 5 at the Magaguadavic fishway in St. George. Photo Tom Moffatt

The Atlantic Salmon Federation is sounding the alarm over what it sees as a lack of action to deal with continuous escapes of farmed salmon into the wild.

Seventeen farmed salmon have turned up at the Magaguadavic River fish ladder in St. George, N.B., so far this fall, and four more salmon detected on Friday using underwater video will be tested to determine if they are escapees or wild.

Jonathan Carr, the federation's research director, believes the escapees indicate a larger undiscovered or unreported escape event at an aquaculture site in the Bay of Fundy.

He says the federation notified the industry of the first breach three weeks ago and contends the Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association should be moving more quickly to discover where and how the salmon are escaping.

"What we're finding is there's no huge drive from the industry to find out where the fish are coming from. They just say, 'They aren't our fish, we don't know,' and that's the end of the story," said Carr.

"We really think more effort should be put into finding out where it's happening, how it's happening and what can we do about it to minimize the chances of it from continuing."

The association will perform genetic tests on the captured fish to narrow down a source, executive director Susan Farquaharson told CBC News on Friday

An investigation has shown no breaches at its farm sites, she said, but small escapes can happen during harvesting or treatment of fish.

Escaped salmon can travel hundreds of kilometres and the Magaguadavic is the only one of 20 outer Bay of Fundy rivers monitoring for escaped salmon.

Carr worries many more escapees are in other rivers or simply dying in the Bay of Fundy.

He also worries the fish will spread sea lice or breed with wild stocks, creating hybrids and reducing the overall fitness of all wild stocks.