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

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 […]

S&TCS briefing as Scottish Government debate the future of salmon farming

06 February 2019
  TODAY: Scottish parliament to debate the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) committee report on salmon farming Legislative impact is expected to follow on from today’s debate, Wednesday 6th February 2019, for which S&TCS have contributed the following briefing: S&TCS briefing for MSPs for salmon farming debate Feb 2019 STCS Briefing Addendum – SG’s response […]

2018: A year in review

21 December 2018
What have we achieved this year? 2018 has been our biggest year yet! So where has your support got us, and what have we done for wild fish protection and conservation? Our CEO’s Year In Review summaries our influence, accomplishments and campaigns over the past 12 months.  View our full YEAR IN REVIEW HERE With […]

Why you should go salmon-free this Christmas

11 December 2018
A Christmas favourite it may be; but there is nothing festive nor joyous about farmed salmon. Salmon is considered by many to be a Christmas staple, its murky journey from net-pen to plate concealed behind tinsel-clad wrapping and slick marketing. Two parliamentary inquiries have this year confirmed the need for rapid change in salmon farming, which […]

S&TCS warmly welcomes the Rural Economy Committee’s report on salmon farming

27 November 2018
S&TCS warmly welcomes the Rural Economy Committee’s report on salmon farming Scottish Government must now act quickly to put in place greater protection for wild salmon and sea trout. View the REC Committee Report here Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TCS) has warmly welcomed the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) Committee’s report on salmon farming, […]

“Organic” farmed salmon – let’s get real

12 November 2018
“Organic” farmed salmon Similar scenarios play out at dinner tables up and down the UK, particularly during the festive season. Salmon, either smoked or “fresh”, is served and the host, feigning environmental awareness, announces along the lines of: “Don’t worry, we are always very responsible – we only ever buy ‘organic’ salmon.” But is eating […]

Salmon farming industry blames wild fish for sea lice infestations

30 October 2018
  Sea lice on farmed salmon – the ultimate solution In September, following months of media exposes of salmon farming’s dire environmental failures, the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation (SSPO) announced the appointment of a leading political journalist to the newly created role of “Director of Strategic Engagement”. In the SSPO’s news release, the appointee is […]

Loch Roag Sea Lice: SSPO Defence Falls Flat

19 September 2018
Mea culpa……mea what? On September 3 we issued a news release detailing the deaths, in the Blackwater River (Isle of Lewis), of a substantial proportion of this Hebridean system’s wild adult salmon run.   The tip of the iceberg The corpses removed from the tidal Sea pool were likely just the tip of the iceberg […]

Wild Adult Salmon Run Decimated By Sea Lice

03 September 2018
Important Hebridean adult wild salmon run decimated by parasites as sea lice numbers on local salmon farms rise and dead farmed fish are taken ashore for burial Underwater video and photos show graphic evidence of wild salmon covered in parasites Above: A dead wild adult Blackwater salmon, fatally wounded after its skin has been stripped […]

The curious case of the great salmon escape that wasn’t…

20 August 2018
  Scottish Ministers again failing to comply with FOI law over mysterious 2016 salmon farm escape of 300,000 fish that company now says never happened…. The reporting of the disappearance of 300,000 farmed salmon in 2016, understood at the time to be the industry’s biggest escape in many years, raises serious questions about the oversight […]

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