Salmon Farming

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

Campaign aims

  • Relocate poorly sited farms
  • Review lice regulations and make action on lice trigger levels mandatory
  • Encourage a shift to closed containment salmon farming: either land-based or floating tanks in place of open nets

Work by our Scottish team has already led to TWO parliamentary inquiries to consider industry reform.

latest news

S&TC and Patagonia deliver 170,000 strong petition to Scottish Parliament

12 September 2019
Our partnership with Patagonia in this campaign has been extremely effective. Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TCS) are pleased to have been able to orchestrate the delivery of Patagonia Inc’s “Artifishal” petition against open-net salmon farming, which we supported, to Gillian Martin MSP, Convener of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee at the Scottish Parliament. Patagonia’s credibility on […]

Sea lice numbers on salmon farms double in a single year

21 August 2019
Total sea lice numbers on salmon farms double in a single year. Industry and official SEPA data underline how the rush to expand salmon farm production is massively increasing the risks to wild salmon and sea trout. “A moratorium on salmon farm expansion is now more essential than ever” Andrew Graham-Stewart, Director of Salmon and […]

Response to MOWI decision to close Loch Ewe salmon farm

25 July 2019
Mowi (previously Marine Harvest) has announced that it is to close its highly contentious salmon farm in Loch Ewe, Wester Ross.   Andrew Graham-Stewart, Director of S&TC Scotland (S&TCS), said:  “We welcome Mowi’s decision to close the Loch Ewe farm. There can be no doubt that the decision is a vindication of S&TCS’ long campaign […]

ARTIFISHAL & Patagonia Inc

27 June 2019
“The thing that has struck us at the screenings we have attended is that the audience is far from being just anglers – it has been great seeing so many younger folk there and hearing their reaction to the issues” Paul Knight, CEO Salmon & Trout Conservation In 2019 one of Patagonia’s core global campaigns […]

Salmon farming being supported by hands-off regulation and taxpayers’ money

19 June 2019
  FOI reveals hands-off regulation of salmon farming’s environmental impactand the lavish use of taxpayers’ money to support the industry  Freedom of Information requests made by Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TCS) to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Marine Scotland, the Fish Health Inspectorate and Highlands and Islands Enterprise have shown the extent of Scottish […]

NASCO 2019

12 June 2019
“With S&TC’s Chairman, CEO, Head of Science and Scottish Director actively involved in NASCO, we are playing a genuinely influential role within international wild Atlantic salmon conservation politics” The 2019 NASCO meeting was held in Tromsø, Norway, this year and was preceded by a 2-day Symposium for the International Year of the Salmon – Managing […]

BBC Panorama: Salmon Farming Exposed

29 May 2019
“We applaud Panorama’s focus on the abject failure of the regulators in Scotland to carry out their responsibilities.” Andrew Graham-Stewart, Director of Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland For example, the Scottish Government’s Fish Health Inspectorate, that polices farms for parasites and diseases, has in the last five years served only two enforcement notices under the […]

The Shetland Factor

03 May 2019
Many believe salmon farming is an issue exclusive to wild fish in the west Highlands and Hebrides. However, controlling sea lice on farms in Shetland is just as important as our Scottish Director, Andrew Graham-Stewart explains… The official figures for rod catches of salmon in Scotland during 2018 were published last week. That they were […]

We all have a responsibility to save the ‘King of Fish’

19 April 2019
The publication of new Environment Agency byelaws banning the killing of salmon in the North East drift and coastal nets was very welcome news earlier this year and brought to a close a campaign by fisheries organisations that lasted some 30 years. Scotland banned drift netting in 1962 and closed down its coastal nets in […]

Scottish Government inertia marks anniversary of Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee’s report into salmon farming

06 March 2019
  Scottish Government inertia marks anniversary of Scottish Parliament’s Environment Committee’s report into salmon farming Industry allowed to persist with business as usual a year after Government was told ‘the status quo is not an option’ One year on from the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee’s report on the Environmental Impacts of […]

Because of your support we've achieved:

SFR Achievements 1

 An in-depth Scottish Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into the salmon farming industry’s impact on wild fish

SFR Achievements 2

A successful petition calling for stronger Government regulation, which lead to initiation of the inquiry

SFR Achievements 3

Our documentary on Loch Maree had a significant impact on the Committee and on social media

Our work

S&TC on BBC's The One Show

September 2018

S&TC on BBC Scotland's Landward

October 2018

Eaten Alive: The Demise of Loch Maree

2016

 

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:
James Merryweather
Gairloch Heritage Museum
NJFF-Hordaland/Gisle Sverdrup (under water sea trout footage)
Alv Arne Lyse (sea trout pictures and farmed salmon)

With thanks to:
Inveran Estate
Wester Ross Area Salmon Fisheries Board
Wester Ross Fisheries Trust
Jane Grant

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

We have a range of informative resources to help you understand the issues. Please feel free to download and use (with credit to S&TC).

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.

Stay up to date with our latest news & press releases