100 tonnes of fish escape from farm


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Around 100 tonnes of Barramundi escaped from an Australian fish farm after the cages they were being held in collapsed.

The Barramundi, Lates calcarifer, were being kept in cages off Bathurst Island in the Northern Territory when the chains snapped, causing the cages to collapse and the fish to spill into the ocean.

ABC News Online says that Marine Harvest, the owner of the farm, were in the process of replacing the old steel cages with plastic ones which would have prevented the escape of the fish.

Marine Harvest's Managing Director, Craig Foster, told ABC that local fishermen were having a great time catching the fish, which were worth around 231,000.

"They were waving to us, they had lots of smiles and I saw a couple hold up some fish with great glee," he told ABC.

The company is now liasing with the Fisheries Department about the best way to recapture the escaped fish.

Similar incidents have occured in the UK. According to a government report published in 2003, more than a million salmonids (salmon and trout) had escaped between 1997 and 2003.

Escapes in the UK are usually blamed on cage damage caused by storms and seals.