WAS the report exposing the levels of PCBs in farmed Scottish salmon just ‘another food scare’? 

The Salmon & Trout Association is determined that the underlying dangers of unregulated salmon farming will not disappear just because the headlines have. It is now co-ordinating support for the forthcoming Aquaculture Bill.

Our target is the proper independent regulation of aquaculture through tight legislation, Paul Knight, the Association’s Director, declares. “We are committed to ensure that wild salmonids and their marine habitat are freed from aquaculture’s disastrous environmental impact over the past 20 years.”

 

He highlights the three main factors the Association believe have together created this environmental disaster:

 

* The transfer of unnaturally high populations of sea-lice from densely

stocked farm cages to wild fish, caused by the citing of the cages in estuaries, rivers and ocean corridors the fish pass by on their migration runs.

* The collapse in jobs and work supported by fisheries and angling that

were caused by the precipitous decline in wild salmon as a result of aquaculture.

* Most importantly, the fact that most Scottish salmon farms are owned by foreign concerns, notably Norwegian, that are free to carry out practices permitted in the UK but not in their own countries.  It is forbidden in Norway, for example, to practice aquaculture in river systems supporting wild salmonids yet the Tweed’s vital spring salmon spawning tributary, the Ettrick, is the proposed location for a new Norwegian-owned smolt unit.

 

Paul Knight applauds the direct action stance of the Fish Farm Protest Group; especially their aim to replace sea-cages with pumped-ashore seawater tanks.  ‘I fear lack of will to invest the money will delay this from happening for some while,’ he concedes. ‘But we must still lobby together for a complete rethink about the way in which fish are grown for human consumption.’

 

The Salmon & Trout Association, together with colleagues from the Scottish Anglers Association, Atlantic Salmon Trust, Association of Scottish Fishery Boards and Sea Trout Group, having lobbied The Scottish Parliament for the past five years, and is now concentrating on the proposed Aquaculture Bill, due to come before Parliament in 2007.

 

“This means that a draft must be written by the end of 2005,which gives us just eighteen months to influence the direction of marine salmon farming in Scotland,” Knight warns. “Now that we have a time frame for legislation, the gloves must be off to ensure the return and protection of the great salmon and sea trout runs to Scotland, Ireland, Norway and anywhere else impacted by aquaculture, before it is too late.”

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