Escapee farmed salmon are turning up in Ayrshire rivers and anglers are being asked to watch out for them.

Mowi, owners of the Carradale North farm, confirmed that 48,834 fish escaped from 10 cages last month.

Now Fisheries Management Scotland have been informed of significant numbers of farmed fish caught by anglers in multiple rivers across Ayrshire.

Aquaculture Interactions Manager, Polly Burns, said: “Given the risks these fish pose to the genetic integrity of Scotland’s wild salmon populations, we appreciate the ongoing vigilance among the angling community.

“It is essential that this continues and that anglers are clear about what to do should they capture such fish.”

Farmed fish are distinguishable by damaged fins, and if one is caught it should be humanely killed.

A sample of scales should be taken and sent to FMS which will allow them to confirm that the fish is of farmed origin. More information can be found on the FMS website.

Stuart Brabbs, Ayrshire Rivers Trust manager and lead scientific officer, said: “The advice is very much to kill every farmed salmon that you catch.

“The Carradale salmon are the best condition farmed salmon I’ve ever seen.

“I think all the public pressure and criticism of the industry has encouraged them to improve their animal husbandry but they haven’t resolved their containment issues yet.

A Mowi spokersperson said: “We recognise the financial loss to the company, damage to salmon in our care, and reputational issues, but we ask that this is proportionally balanced against our role as a healthy food producer and major employer of dedicated staff throughout Scotland. “

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