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B.C. salmon farm breach could threaten native stocks

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(Read caption) A salmon farm in British Columbia, Canada. At a different farm, tens of thousands of salmon escaped into the wild. Experts say that the escaped salmon, which are not native to the Pacific, will put already depleted native stocks at risk.

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Some 30,000 Atlantic salmon escaped from a fish farm off the coast of British Columbia, Canada, where they are thought to pose a threat to already depleted populations of wild Pacific salmon.

Last Wednesday, strong ocean currents shifted an anchor on one of 12 pens in a salmon farm near B.C.'s Campbell River, causing the anchor to fall into a crevice. The anchor pulled down a net with it, creating an opening through which the salmon escaped.

The Norwegian seafood giant, Marine Harvest, which owns the farm, says the escaped fish pose no danger to native stocks. The Canadian broadcaster CBC quotes Clare Backman, the company's director of environmental compliance and community relations, who says that the fish are healthy:

"There's no ability for these fish to spread anything to the wild salmon. First of all, they are quite healthy. They haven't needed any antibiotics. They haven't contracted any diseases at all. They are perfectly healthy fish that were scheduled to go to market within the next two to six months," Backman said.

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