As part of an EU funded 7th Framework project, Prevent Escape, a programme of research was undertaken to document the extent, size and knowledge of the causes of escapes from marine fin fish farms in Europe over a three year period. Escape incidents were identified and assessed through questionnaires across the 6 countries (Ireland, UK, Norway, Spain, Greece, and Malta), and other data supplied by the Norwegian Fisheries Directorate and the Scottish Aquaculture Research Forum. A total of 8,922,863 fish were reported to have escaped from 242 incidents. Of these over 5 million occurred in two catastrophic escape incidents. Sea bream accounted for the highest number of escapes at 76.7% followed by Atlantic salmon at 9.2%. Of the 113 Atlantic salmon escape events, almost 75% were due to structure failure or operational error. Almost 50% of cod escape incidents were due to biological causes e.g. biting of nets. The nominal costs of escapes as calculated by value at point of first sale were very substantial, estimated at approximately €47.5 million per annum on average over the study period. Of this €42.8 million was for annual cost of losses of sea bass and sea bream in the Mediterranean and €4.7 million for losses of salmon in northern Europe.
- Cage farming
- Prevent escape