"Status Quo" for Scottish salmon farming not an option report finds

Date posted: 27 November 2018

MCS welcomes the launch today of the long awaited findings of the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) Committee on the future of salmon farming in Scotland.

© Dawn Purchase

MCS submitted evidence to this Scottish Parliament review in February 2018, where we explained why we believe it is irresponsible to grow a data poor industry and advise them on how to proceed. Our major concerns include: too many sea lice, escaped farmed salmon and the unknown impacts of multiple farms, to name but a few.

On initial reading we are pleased to see the recognition and acknowledgement that the industry “creates a number of economic, environmental and social challenges for other businesses which rely on the natural environment” and that solutions to address these need to be found if the industry is to grow – this mirrors the MCS response to the committee.

The committee also stated that “urgent and meaningful action needs to be taken to address regulatory deficiencies as well as fish health and environmental issues before the industry can expand” – also an issue that MCS flagged in our response. It does state however that there is insufficient evidence to support a moratorium on growth, MCS believes that environmental protection needs to be secured before growth can be considered.

Other recommendations of note include a review of the use of cleaner fish, the application of the precautionary approach in siting of new fish farms adjacent to wild salmon rivers and a review of the use of Acoustic Deterrent Devices to manage seal interactions.

MCS will be reviewing the report in detail and advocating for the strong enforcement and application of the recommendations.

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