An escape of salmon smolt from a south coast (N.L.) fish farm this week was caused by otters that chewed through the side of the pen.
DFO is attempting to recapture the roughly 8,000 fish from the Cooke Aquaculture facility at Long Pond, near Hermitage, but the Tories say it’s worrisome, adding there’s evidence of interbreeding with European fish due to escapes.
They produced a government briefing note suggesting some companies brought European fish in without permission.
Fisheries Minister Derrick Bragg confirmed the escape but says there are strict rules that prevent illegal importation.
He says the province has some of the most stringent aquaculture regulations in the country, adding that bringing in fish illegally may have happened 20 years ago, but not today.
The pen where the escape occurred is located in a landlocked inland water pen.
Bragg says Cooke doesn’t use wire mesh for inland pens but expects them to update their plans to do so.