Chinese Deal for Scottish Farmed Salmon

January 19, 2011 14:19

The Scottish Government's First Minister, Alex Salmond, recently declared that the Scottish fish farming industry may need to double its production of salmon to satisfy Chinese demand, following the signing of a new trade deal.  S&TA believes this could spell further disaster for Scotland's iconic and endangered West Highland wild salmon and sea trout stocks, and it is surely premature and irresponsible of the First Minister to signal such an enormous increase in farmed salmon production before the Scottish Government and fish farming industry have addressed their dire existing problems caused by fish farming, reports with reference to Salmon & Trout Association. 

This statement was particularly alarming in the light of public comments made at the Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland Conference last March by a leading Government scientist, that the industry may well have reached its natural capacity, due mainly to the inability to control sea lice and disease in fish farms.

Guy Linley-Adams, the environmental lawyer leading our Aquaculture Campaign, suggested that, for the First Minister to advocate doubling the industry's output without apparently any prior consideration of his legal obligations towards the conservation of wild fish and the impact on the environment, merely demonstrated a lack of understanding and commitment within the Scottish Government towards protecting these valuable and iconic natural resources. 

However, there was support for our stance from UK Fisheries Minister, Richard Benyon, who was quoted as agreeing that fish farming had adversely impacted wild fish stocks.  We can only hope for a similarly honest approach from the Scottish Government and the Scottish Salmon Producers' Association.

Meanwhile, the campaign continues, and Guy is presently in Norway meeting various high level officials to discuss the difference in approach to fish farming legislation and regulation between Norway and Scotland.  While Norway certainly still has a long way to go before it stops the impact its fish farming industry is having on wild fish, Scotland is way behind even them.  We will report on Guy's trip in the next E-Newsletter.

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