Anglers and landowners claim parasites from farms are partly to blame for declines in wild salmon and sea trout stocks
Anglers and landowners claim parasites from farms are partly to blame for declines in wild salmon and sea trout stocks.
New legislation may prevent fish farming in coastal areas deemed important for the survival of wild fish stocks, a BBC investigation is to reveal.
BBC Scotland Investigates: Scotland’s Fishy Secrets reported that the Scottish Government could follow the example of Norway where the law has restricted the spread of fish farms after growing concerns over the depletion of wild fish stocks.
The investigation reported that anglers and landowners claim parasites from farms are partly to blame for declines in wild salmon and sea trout stocks.
Science correspondent Ken MacDonald interviewed Environment Minister Stewart Stevenson for the programme.
He asked the minister if new legislation planned for later this year might see farms banned from areas that are important to wild stocks.
Mr Stevenson replied: “Of course it may do – and we’ll consult on that. Everything is open for discussion.
“But we have to have the consultation, we have to understand in the environment we have in Scotland what the effects of different options would be.”
Mr Stevenson also said he is considering forcing salmon farmers to publish information about lice levels on specific farms.
Critics of the fish farm industry have called for the measure, which has been implemented by the Norwegian government.
The programme reported that the fish farming industry in Scotland argues there is no evidence that problems with the parasites – known as sea lice – are responsible for declines in wild fish stocks.