Salmon Farming Improvements Needed

Jamie Oliver’s television advertising endorsement of Sainsbury’s Farmed Salmon once agin draws attention to issues
surrounding the aquaculture industry and its impact on wild salmon and sea trout.

Jamie Oliver’s television advertising endorsement of Sainsbury’s Farmed Salmon once agin draws attention to issues
surrounding the aquaculture industry and its impact on wild salmon and sea trout.

Salmon farming has been blamed for the collapse of many sea trout populations on the west coast of Scotland,
and for years of poor salmon runs. Sea lice populations, built up by the unnaturally large stocks of farmed
salmon in sea cages, transfer to wild fish, often affecting them so badly that they die, or become so moribund
that they are unable to breed once they return to freshwater. Added to this, escapee farmed fish interact with
wild fish on the spawning redds, diluting local gene pools and making the resulting juveniles less able to
survive in natural conditions.

The salmon farming industry is already heavily promoted and subsidised with EU grants and the free use of
clean water, and has free licence to pollute lochs and the marine environment with seemingly little responsibility
for the yearly escape of some 500,000 farmed salmon. Sea lice infestations and the potential to transfer disease
to wild fish have become the collective sword of Damocles hanging over wild salmonids as a result
of the aquaculture industry.

The Salmon & Trout Association is in close talks with the Scottish Executive through the Aquaculture Forum,
joining forces with colleagues from other organisations to influence the drafting and passage of the
Aquaculture Bill, scheduled for 2006/7. Our aim, as always, is the independent regulation of aquaculture
so that it has minimal impact on wild salmonids, or the aquatic environment which supports them.

S&TA Director, Paul Knight, said, “Our aim is to have sustainable aquaculture industry existing alongside
an equally viable fishing industry, with all the socio economic benefits that would bring to the economy
of Scotland’s west coast, especially important in the many remote communities to be found there. What we
cannot tolerate is the aquaculture industry being allowed to proliferate inefficiently at the expense of
wild fish interests.”