Read the press release - "Scottish Salmon's Great Escape" - in full online here
Read exclusively in The Herald: "Call to jail fish-farm bosses who allow escapes" (20 March)
A comparison with farmed salmon production data published annually by the Scottish Government reveals that there has been one escapee per 0.7 tonnes of farmed salmon production since 1998 - with 2011, 2005 and 2000 the worst years for escapes. In 2005, there were ten escapees per tonne of farmed salmon production.
A comparison with wild salmon catch statistics published annually by the Scottish Government reveals that farmed salmon escapees are twice the number of wild salmon caught. Between 2002 and 2012 a total of 1.2 million wild salmon were caught with an average of 107,347 per year. This compares with a total of 2.4 million farmed salmon escapees with an average of 217,365 per year for the same period (2002-2012).
The worst offender was Norwegian-owned Marine Harvest who is responsible for over a quarter of escape incidents since 2002. Other repeat offenders are Scottish Sea Farms, Balta Island Seafare, Loch Duart and the Scottish Salmon Company. In 2006, the Scottish Information Commissioner made a landmark ruling following a complaint by the Salmon Farm Protest Group forcing the Scottish Government to disclose the names of companies responsible for escapes.
In January 2014, 154,569 farmed salmon escaped from a Meridian salmon farm in Shetland currently owned by Marine Harvest (read more news via BBC News, STV News, Shetland News, The Herald, Intrafish, Fish Farmer, Fisheries Information Service, Undercurrent News, The Press & Journal, The Shetland Times and Fish Farming Xpert).
An analysis of the data since 2002 (when official site specific statistics are first available), reveals that this was the 4th largest escape on record in Scotland since 2002. Western Isles region is responsible for seven of the top 20 largest escapes, with five in Shetland, three in Highland, three in Orkney and two in Argyll. Shetland is responsible for three out of the top four worst escapes (data collated by GAAIA via officialstatistics published online by the Scottish Government):
Read more online here
Read a media backgrounder: "Scottish Salmon's Great Escape: There's No Escaping the Damning Data" (20 March 2014)
Read an Excel spreadsheet detailing escapes (2002-2006) - online here
Read more news on escapes via:
"Call to jail fish-farm bosses who allow escapes" (The Herald, 20 March)
"Farmed salmon pose threat to wild fish" (The Independent, 14 March)
"Sterilise farm salmon, say experts" (The Scotsman, 10 March)
"Sterilise farmed salmon to stop breeding with wild fish, researchers say" (The Guardian, 10 March)
"NGO asks Scottish Government to ban marine finfsh farms" (Intrafish, 10 March)
"Salmon & Trout Association Scotland respond to mass escape of farmed salmon from Meridian" (For Argyll, 10 March)
"Calls to sterilise farmed salmon" (The Herald, 10 March)
"Farmed Salmon Pose Clear Reproductive Threat to Wild Gene Pools" (The Fish Site, 10 March)
"Sterilisation call in salmon gene wrangle" (Press & Journal, 10 March)
"Farm escapes make stupid wild salmon" (The Sunday Times, 9 March)