Why is salmon farming a problem for wild fish?
Science has given us a loud warning that salmon farming is harming wild fish
Currently, poorly run and badly sited open net farms are putting our wild salmon and sea trout at risk from parasites and diseases.
Numbers of wild salmon and sea trout found in Scotland’s rivers have declined by 70% over the past two decades
Wild Atlantic Salmon is on the brink of becoming an endangered species in our lifetime, with global populations of wild Atlantic salmon are estimated to have declined from 8-10 million in the 1970’s to just 3 million fish today
What are we doing to protect wild fish?
Our salmon farming campaign champions a shift to production systems where the salmon farming industry and wild fish can thrive together
1. Permanent relocation of open cage salmon farms that are close to wild salmon and sea trout rivers, or are on the migration route to the open sea, and thus can reasonably be assumed to have a significant adverse impact on wild salmon and sea trout populations.
2. Ensure that absolute numbers of sea lice parasites on salmon farms are subject to specific statutory regulations and verified by independent unannounced Scottish Government or official regulatory body inspections.
3. Protect local jobs and salmon farming expertise in Scotland by supporting and encouraging a transition to a zero emission (parasites, pollutants and waste) closed containment salmon farming industry by 2025.
4. End the use of fishmeal and fish oil in salmon farming in Scotland where it is derived from capellin, squid, sand eel and other species considered prey for wild Atlantic salmon and is caught in areas on the migration routes and feeding grounds of wild Atlantic Scottish salmon.
Work by our Scottish team has already led to TWO parliamentary inquiries to consider industry reform.
ECCLR Committee Inquiry: Report
REC Committee Inquiry: Report
Dismay at Scottish Government’s continuing refusal to address the serious environmental issues associated with Scotland’s salmon farming industry
Because of your support we've achieved:
An in-depth Scottish Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into the salmon farming industry’s impact on wild fish
A successful petition calling for stronger Government regulation, which lead to initiation of the inquiry
Our documentary on Loch Maree had a significant impact on the Committee and on social media
S&TC on BBC's The One Show
S&TC on BBC Scotland's Landward
Eaten Alive: The Demise of Loch Maree
S&TC's Loch Maree film is a powerful and graphic illustration of how a poorly sited salmon farm can have a devastating impact on what was previously a prolific and entirely sustainable wild fishery.
Sea trout stocks in Loch Maree collapsed in 1988, one year after the start of salmon farming in Loch Ewe, the sea loch into which Loch Maree drains via the River Ewe.
We are working to restore what was formerly the finest sea trout fishery in Scotland. Together we can encourage reform of the industry, relieving wild fish from fish farming pressure.
Only with your help will places like Loch Maree be filled with a healthy abundance of wild fish once again.
Picture / film credits:
Gairloch Heritage Museum
NJFF-Hordaland/Gisle Sverdrup (under water sea trout footage)
Alv Arne Lyse (sea trout pictures and farmed salmon)
With thanks to:
Wester Ross Area Salmon Fisheries Board
Wester Ross Fisheries Trust
How can you help?
Be salmon savvy
Start in the supermarket.
Our campaigning has lead to full disclosure of which salmon farms are not keeping their lice under control. To date, no meaningful enforcement action, such as the ordering of culls or immediate reductions in fish-farm biomass, has been taken against serial offenders.
The Scottish Government has a legal duty to protect and conserve wild salmon and sea trout, but this data shows it is failing to rein in the biggest threat to wild salmonids.
Is salmon on your menu?
Help to secure a sustainable future for Scotland’s wild fish
Resources & Documents Archive
Our work, lobbying and research is extensive and complex; if you want to dive deeper into the details then please explore our document archive below:
Our written evidence to Scottish Parliamentary Committees' Inquiries into salmon farming.
Our critique of Scottish Government's regulation of sea lice within salmon farms - sent to all heads of delegation within the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO).
We rely on your support to protect wild fish and the places they live.
By donating or joining as a member you will be making a huge contribution to the fight to protect the UK's waters and ensure a sustainable future for wild fish.