Thousands of Atlantic salmon escape fish farm near Victoria after nets rip

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Thousands of Atlantic salmon have escaped into Pacific waters east of Victoria after nets ripped at a U.S. fish farm in the San Juan Islands.

The company, Cooke Aquaculture, blamed “exceptionally high tides and currents coinciding with this week’s solar eclipse” for the failure of the net pen near Cypress Island.

In a statement, Cooke said it didn’t know how many fish escaped, but estimated it was “several thousand.”

The company’s statement did not say when the fish escaped, and no one was available for an interview, but the Seattle Times has reported the fish started being caught in the Puget Sound on Sunday.

Atlantic salmon are not native to Pacific waters, but are a major aquaculture species in Washington State and B.C.

Their presence in fish farms — and potential to escape from net cages — has been a hotly debated part of the West Coast fish farm industry for years, due to concerns about whether the foreign fish could cause harm to the five wild species of Pacific salmon.

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Thousands of Atlantic salmon escape fish farm near Victoria after nets rip

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