The Environment Agency and Fisheries Management Scotland are warning anglers in Cumbria to be vigilant during the closing stages of the fishing season following confirmed cases of escaped farmed salmon being caught on the rivers Ehen, Derwent and Border Esk.
Some 48,834 fish from the Carradale North site, Mowi Farm, escaped after a pen became detached from its seabed anchors during Storm Ellen in the summer.
Fisheries Management Scotland have been making efforts to manage the escape, but it has been confirmed that six farmed fish have been caught on the three Cumbrian rivers, with more fish suspected to be in other watercourses.
The Environment Agency and Fisheries Management Scotland are urging anglers to report any captures on the Fisheries Management Scotland reporting system.
Brian Shields, of the Environment Agency, said: “We want to see as many wild fish spawning as possible to benefit future fish generations, which is why we want to make sure these farmed fish can be removed from our rivers, within the law, to prevent future damage to the wild stocks.”
Polly Burns, of Fisheries Management Scotland, said: “We are asking anglers in England and on the Border Esk to use the same reporting system anglers are using in Scotland to keep catch records of these farmed fish in one place.
“Farmed fish are most usually distinguishable by damaged fins.
“If a farmed fish is caught it should be humanely dispatched.
“Importantly, a sample of scales should be taken, which will allow us to confirm that the fish is of farmed origin. Detailed guidance on this process is available on the news pages of the Fisheries Management Scotland website.”
She added: “We feared these fish could turn up further afield and that stresses the importance of anglers being aware wherever they may be fishing on the west coast of the UK.”