Tesco Accused of Covering Up Farmed Trout Escape
Retail giant Tesco has been accused of covering up the escape of farmed trout into a Scottish salmon river, The Times of London reported today.
In February, up to 4,000 rainbow trout escaped from a farm operated by Scot Trout at Ardchatten and swam into the River Awe. Conservation groups said that this is the latest of numerous such incidents at the Scot Trout farm and that they secured an agreement from Tesco, the farm's biggest customer, to conduct an investigation.
However, the Argyll District Salmon Fishery Board claims that the supermarket has blocked its attempts to gather information and meet their investigators.
Andrew Wallace, managing director of the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards, which represents all 42 of the country's salmon conservation groups, said Tesco's secrecy suggests it has something to hide.
"Unless we see Tesco taking meaningful action against Scot Trout, then we have to draw the conclusion that the codes of conduct on fish farming that Tesco have with their suppliers amount to no more than lip-service," he told The Times.
A Tesco spokesperson said that the company completed its investigation and that the farm had not breached its aquaculture code of practice.
Scot Trout blamed the escape on mechanical failure during a storm. Escaped rainbow trout harm the natural ecology by preying on juvenile salmon and trout and by competing with indigenous fish for food and habitat. They can also spread disease.