I caught a farmed fish the other day that I took home for dinner. In my fishing I'm very selective about what fish I keep and mostly do catch and release. This fish has made a longer trip on open water because there is only a natural population of seatrout on Gotland that we need to be careful with!
Scales al over the fly rod, my camera and hands. The fishing has been really good lately! After a closer look at this fish I decided to kill it. On some areas in the Baltic sea the natural population of trout is also compensated with farmed individuals, most fish stay quite close to where they are released but a few make longer trips and this one made its way to Gotland and my fly. I mainly see farmed smaller fish between 45-55 cm, rarely anything bigger and this was no exception.
The Gotland trout show special behaviors as young individuals when they emerge from the spawning grounds, I may go more into details of this in another article but the ting is that we don't want fish with other genetics to affect that. Its not a huge number of farmed fish we catch. I have caught three so far this season But if you want to keep a fish I recommend you to take one of these.
Here are some general things to look for to make sure a fish is farmed.
Fat-fin is cut of this is the sure mark that its a farmed fish. they cut the fin before they release it into the sea.
Dorsal fin is unregular I have seen tendency to this on wild fish to but its another thing I look for, here it was very clear.
Pectoral fins are damaged its the final check i do to be sure and this fish had a very crocked pectoral fin, it can be less clear than this and if you feel with your fingers on the fin you can feel its broken on a farmed fish.
Not all fish have a cut fat fin, the farmed fish we have made DNA test on everyone showed up to be from the Stockholm region. There its probably never a fish that pass by without taking of the fat fin. Anyhow these are good guidelines also for salmon! Several years ago I got the opportunity to fishing in river Namsen in Norway after the season was closed. There were so much farmed fish that had escaped from the fish farms out in the sea. Our mission was to catch farmed fish and take it up because they go up for spawning as well but after the wild fish is finished and thereby ruin the spawning grounds after the spawning of the wild population. If we caught a wild fish we just released it again but the escaped salmons still had the fat fin left! Especially checking and feeling on the pectoral fin was the way to find out.
Fresh example of a wild and healthy fish in the same size we caught and released yesterday.