Salmon farmers defend transparency after Canada fish escape

ST. ANDREWS, New Brunswick (AP) — A salmon farming group is defending its effort to be transparent with the public about the problem of escaped fish in the wake of an incident in which hundreds of fish got loose near the border of Maine and Canada.

Cooke Aquaculture has said an equipment malfunction in August resulted in about 1,000 fish being released by Kelly Cove Salmon Ltd., one of its divisions. The incident stoked criticism from environmental groups that say escaped salmon jeopardize the vulnerable wild Atlantic salmon population.

Atlantic Canada Fish Farmers Association executive director Susan Farquharson says salmon farmers "do not want to lose a single fish." She says salmon farming companies voluntarily report escapes to regulators and others. Farquharson says containment will "always be a top priority as will our wild salmon conservation and enhancement efforts."