Monday, 17 October 2016

On the line: call for Danish anglers to help catch escaped trout

Up to 80,000 rainbow trout enter open sea after ship rams aquafarm, raising concerns farmed fish may eat eggs of wild sea trout
Wednesday 12 October 2016 Last modified on Wednesday 12 October 2016

Christmas has come early for Denmark’s anglers: up to 80,000 rainbow trout have escaped into the open sea after a cargo ship rammed a fish farm, a local broadcaster has reported, prompting urgent calls for help to catch them.

TV2/FYN said the trout, worth up to DKr 10m (£1.2m), swam off on Tuesday when a freighter heading from Kaliningrad on the Baltic Sea to the southern Danish port of Kolding rammed the aquafarm, in the Little Belt strait between Denmark’s mainland and the island of Funen. 

Tim Petersen, the farm owner, told the broadcaster that the trout, which weigh 3kg (6.6lb) each, had been scheduled to be slaughtered this week. “We’ll be seeking compensation,” he said.

But the accident has alarmed environmentalists, who said the farmed trout could not have escaped at a worse time because wild sea trout were swimming up the island’s streams and inlets to spawn.

“Sea trout eggs are a favourite food for rainbow trout,” Søren Knabe, a local angler and member of the Vandpleje Fyn environmental association, told TV2/FYN. “The escaped rainbow trout will follow right behind the tails of the sea trout and eat their eggs.”

Jon Svendsen, a researcher from Denmark’s National Institute of Aquatic Resources, told Reuters the danger that the escaped fish would disturb the wild trouts’ eggs was real, although the farmed fish were unlikely to survive much longer than a few months. 

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