Ayrshire Rivers Trust received a video call today from an angler who had just caught a salmon on the Irvine that he thought may be a farmed fish escaped from Carradale 3 weeks ago. Impressed by his ingenuity we quickly were able to confirm that indeed this was an escaped farmed salmon and it should be killed.
We met him on the way back home to collect the fish as he didn’t want it. The condition of the fish was surprising and it was perhaps the best and healthiest looking farmed salmon we’ve come across from any Ayrshire river ever. Apart from the dorsal damage, there were only subtle signs that gave it away. It looked better than any on the slab at Asda.
The angler didn’t want the fish and we were pleased to take it and remove scale and tissue samples. It has now been consigned to the bin. We don’t recommend anglers eat farmed salmon they catch as they may be contaminated with residual chemicals and veterinary treatments.
The photos above illustrate the condition of the fish and show what to look to tell wild and farmed fish apart. Most experience anglers should be able to distinguish between the two but farmer salmon are getting improving these days and a damaged fin can easily be overlooked.
Most anglers don’t want to kill wild fish when they are in short supply so when presented with something like this, they err safety and I heard and saw pictures of another caught on the Doon today, that was returned rather than make a mistake. The same angler caught another and killed it as by this time he was convinced it was an escapee.
Hopefully these images will help other anglers distinguish between escaped farmed fish and wild salmon. We need the wild salmon to spawn successfully so they should be returned and only the farmers killed when captured.
All farmed fish must be reported to the Fish Health Inspectorate and the Ayr DSFB and there’s a link to a form in the previous post that should be used for this. Photos and scale samples are requested from any farmed fish captured and they should be wrapped in kitchen roll and posted to Ayrshire Rivers Trust, 1 Gibbsyard, Auchincruive, Ayr KA6 5HW for analysis. ART’s Biologists will provide you with their opinions on the fish’s life to the point of capture and send you an image illustrating the growth history throughout its life if you include your contact details. Please provide as much detail of the capture as possible along with the scales.
With another spate on the way today, there’s a very high probability that more of these escapees will enter the river as it drops. Keep a keen eye out for them please. They seem to be appearing in most Ayrshire rivers now.