A helicopter is now contributing to the search for the missing dozen large aquaculture cages full of salmon that disappeared from their moorings in Shetland on 25 December.
The search continues, as even though the Sumburgh-based search and rescue helicopter covered up to 500 sqmi, it was unable to spot the 12 100ft-wide cages which floated away from the Shetland island of Unst. The weather has been poor and thwarted the search.
Shetland Coastguard had asked for help to tow the cages back to shore to prevent potential hazards to navigation around the island’s south coast.
The cages had been anchored together in a grid pattern and the fish were due to be harvested, Herald Scotland reports.
The helicopter located them last week some 30 mi east of the island.
Officials called two wellboats to bring back the cages, but the dismal weather made the recovery unfeasible.
As the cages were full of salmon, industry sources say, if the fish had died their weight would sink the cages to the ocean bottom.
"We are working closely with both the Maritime and Coastguard Agency and Marine Scotland and are taking advice from them,” told Mark Warrington, managing director of Lakeland Unst Ltd owners of the fish farm. “We are doing our utmost to recover the cages, but the bad weather is hampering our efforts."