Drifting salmon cages under tow

Sunday, 08 January 2012 | Written by Pete Bevington | Print

THE TWELVE drifting salmon cages containing 300,000 fully grown fish which went missing from the Shetland isle of Unst during the Christmas gales have been taken under tow.
The Danish tug Westsund took hold of the cages at 10.40am on Sunday morning as they lay in relatively calm waters 60 miles east of Shetland.

The salmon tender Orcadia is also heading to the scene from Orkney to assist with the tow, which Shetland coastguard said was making very slow progress on Sunday afternoon.
The 12 cages lost their moorings off the south coast of Unst when westerly winds reached more than 100mph on Christmas Day in Shetland.

Owners Meridian Salmon managed to attach a tow using their well boat Victoria Viking on 30 December, but the operation had to be aborted due to the strength of the tide.

The cages went missing again until Friday when they were spotted by Marine Scotland’s fish patrol aircraft Watchdog64, and the Shetland whitefish trawler Opportune kept a close eye on them until Westsund arrived.
The company said the fish had a sales value of more than £3 million and the loss was a serious blow, however they have said it has not deterred them from farming salmon in Shetland.

It is understood that two of the cages are submerged, but it is believed they are still attached to the others. The salmon are unlikely to have survived the two week ordeal.