#ProtectWater campaign success: brilliant news for our waters and fish

First success for #ProtectWater campaign

Thanks to an extensive collaborative effort from over 100 NGO's across Europe, including S&TC, an important first milestone has been achieved in the defence of our water's environmental protection laws.

A paper drafted by a group of government officials, seeking to weaken the laws which currently protect our waters, has NOT been endorsed at the recent Water Directors' meeting.

Government officials from Member States prepared a paper for last week’s meeting of Water Directors - who represent their national governments on all decisions related to water management. The paper included a series of proposed changes to the WFD which, if ever put into effect, would constitute a significant weakening of the legislation.

Collaborative effort from NGO's

However, thanks to a joint and sustained policy and communications effort from NGO's across Europe, the paper was not endorsed by Water Directors. Prior to the meeting, Water Directors were sent numerous letters and communications urging they maintain the environment and protect the WFD - as explicitly recognised in the discussion and in the final report of the meeting, which stated:

"Water Directors reiterated their conviction that the WFD is a center-piece of EU water legislation and has been highly instrumental for progress achieved in protecting and improving the status of European waters so far.

They emphasized that the level of ambition of the WFD and its objectives should be maintained. They also stressed the need to focus efforts on achieving the WFD objectives, and highlighted that water using sectors responsible for the pressures leading to a failure in achieving the objectives should contribute to these efforts."

These succesfull communications and documents were borne of, and sent on behalf of, the Living Rivers Europe coalition; as well as a multitude of individuals, NGO's and other government officials. Water Directors were receptive, indeed;

"They thanked the consultation group for its work and the document prepared. They took full note of the concerns raised by NGOs and stakeholders".

This could not have been achieved without such a co-ordinated effort, and this result is a testament to the power of the #ProtectWater movement of 100+ organisations, of which S&TC are proud to be a part of.

Next steps

The paper will now be discussed at the meeting of the Strategic Coordination Group (SCG) early next year; the issues it contains to be addressed by the Water Directors of the Member States only after various European Commission assessments, i.e. the end of 2019.

So there is still a long way to go, and we still need many more submissions to the European Commission's consultation...

Help us Protect Water and wild fish in the UK

Despite this strong start, the battle is far from over and we still need your help to keep our water laws strong, especially on the eve of Brexit.

Please click here to find out more about the campaign and to have your say with the European Commission, using our simple consultation form. Please, for the sake of our wild fish and their habitats, ACT NOW and help us #PotectWater.

SIFCA Consultation: Help us ban inshore netting which threatens salmon & trout

Join S&TC in seeking to ban inshore netting in Dorset, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to help protect genetically-unique chalkstream salmon and sea trout.

Salmon & Trout Conservation has responded to an important consultation on the future of net fishing in the harbours and estuarine waters of the South Coast.

We want a cessation of netting in these areas out to one mile off-shore.

Anything less is not sufficiently protective of our vulnerable migratory fish, and many other species such as bass and mullet:

  • Recent research has shown that Southern Chalkstream salmon are genetically distinct from all other European populations and we therefore have an extra responsibility to protect them.
  • These waters form an important migratory route for salmon and sea trout throughout the year as they enter and leave rivers.
  • They also provide nursery and refuge areas for a wide range of fish species such as bass and mullet. These species also need protection.

The consulting body, the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (Southern IFCA for short), is proposing a change in netting rules to ban drift and fixed nets but to allow the use of ring nets in the Southern IFCA district.

We consider the threat from ring netting to salmon and sea trout (let alone bass and mullet) to still be too high for these nets to be allowed. We recommend a ban on all inshore netting to one mile offshore in the Southern IFCA district.

How can you help?

Please respond to the Southern IFCA consultation by the closing date of 7 December 2018.

The official documents are available on the SIFCA website. Please follow these steps to submit your input to the consultation:

  1. Click on this link to take you to the overview page on the Southern IFCA website.
  2. Download the 'Southern IFCA Consultation Document' - available directly here in Word Doc (the SIFCA website, unhelpfully, contains only a PDF - we have provided a Word Doc for easy editing).
  3. Complete your answers from page 18 onwards - please feel free to use our responses. You can view our full PDF submission here, OR simply use our word doc of answers only (for ease of copying).
  4. Responses must be submitted by 7 th December 2018. You can respond in writing by email to: enquiries@southern-ifca.gov.uk. Or by post to: Southern IFCA, 64 Ashley Road, Parkstone, Poole, Dorset BH14 9BN.

Your responses truly count – numbers matter!

Important Links

Anne Voss-Bark Memorial Award 2018: Winner announced

Anne Voss-Bark Memorial Award 2018: Winner Announced at Arundell Arms

S&TC are proud to announce that their prestigious Anne Voss-Bark Memorial Award 2018 has been awarded to PHD student William Davison, of Exeter University.

The award was presented to William on the 10th of October at the Arundell Arms, by proprietor, and Anne-voss Bark's son, Adam Fox Edwards and S&TC Executive Vice-President Tony Bird, in a lunch attended by award partners, the Fario Club and West Country Rivers Trust.

Above: Adam Fox Edwards (Arundel Arms), William Davison and Tony Bird (S&TC)

Set up by S&TC in 2014, in collaboration with the Arundel Arms and Fario Club, the Anne Voss-Bark Memorial Award provides successful applicants with invaluable work experience with the West Country Rivers Trust; learning catchment management and water science from the trust's eminent scientists, including a fly fishing course and complimentary stay at the Arundell Arms hotel.

The award is open each year to young fisheries or aquatic students and offers an unbeatable opportunity to learn the practical elements of river restoration and management.


Anne Voss-Bark Memorial Award 2018 Winner

William Davison, a first year PhD student from the University of Exeter, with a background in ecological physiology, is this year's lucky winner of the award.

He brings his extensive field skills to the placement, gained during his research career at the University of Exeter and associated study abroad year at the University Of Queensland, which took him to remote Heron Island. He says,

“This placement allows me to see first-hand how local charities are working on the front line to restore and protect the aquatic environments around which I grew up, and the animals on which I have chosen to focus my research studies."

William has recently finished the placement and has now returned to his PhD in aquatic biology, working specifically on land-based recirculating aquaculture systems (RAS) for salmonids. Such work aligns closely with S&TC's vision and campaign for closed contentment salmon farming in Scotland. William says,

"The opportunity to learn about management of wild salmon and trout allows me to take a more holistic approach to my PhD by including a wider understanding of management strategies for wild populations.

This experience puts me in a better informed position to help promote aquaculture techniques that allow farmed and wild salmonids to both thrive and perform the vital services we require of them."

Wild fish and their habitats were of great importance to Anne Voss-Bark, and the award recognises and nurtures the same passion in it's students. Dr Janina Gray, Head of Science at S&TC, says,

“William demonstrates why this award is so important and offers such an amazing opportunity for someone just starting their career and are passionate about making a difference for our wild salmon and sea trout. The award offers unbeatable work experience and invaluable exposure to all our organisations' campaigning and projects”


Anne Voss-Bark

Anne Voss-Bark was a dedicated conservationist and prominent hotelier. Her love of fly fishing made her aware of changes in the countryside detrimental to our rivers and fish, which she worked tirelessly to combat.

Anne will also always be well-remembered as the perfect hostess at the Arundell Arms in Lifton, Devon, which was rather run down on acquisition but developed by her over nearly 50 years into today’s eminent fishing and country sports hotel.

S&TC are proud to honour the memory of Anne Voss-Bark through the award, nurturing the next generation of aquatic scientists and conservationists in the process.

S&TC joins 100 NGOs in Europe-wide #ProtectWater campaign

S&TC is one of 100 NGOs[1 ] joining forces across Europe to tackle proposed weakening of EU freshwater protection laws

As part of #ProtectWater, we are uniting to launch a campaign calling on the European Commission to defend the law that protects all sources of water, such as rivers, lakes, wetlands and groundwater, during its current review.

Such laws are integral to the future health and abundance of wild fish, especially salmon and trout who urgently need their waters better protected from over-abstraction, barriers to migration and all forms of pollution. To weaken these laws further would certainly speed up salmon and trout's disappearance from our waterways, primarily through a loss of important habitat and a degradation of their water quality.

It is essential to support this law in the UK, as any weakening of this EU legislation will be transposed into UK law post-Brexit and will mean weaker protections for our waters.

Working together to protect water

The #ProtectWater campaign encourages people across the UK and Europe to participate in the European Commission’s public consultation on the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), which is running until 4 March 2019.

This is the only opportunity for the general public to express their support to keep water protections strong and effective. To get involved people can simply and quickly sign-up here.


Andreas Baumüller, Head of Natural Resources at WWF’s European Policy Office, said:

‘Member States’ half-hearted implementation of the EU water law is a crime in itself, but their desperate attempts to weaken it - and before the Commission’s fitness check has even concluded - is a step too far.

We urge citizens across Europe and beyond to join forces through the #ProtectWater campaign and make their voices heard.

We all need clean water, and without the Water Framework Directive, this will be under serious threat. Act now to defend the EU water law!’


Dr Janina Gray, S&TC’s Head of Science & Environmental Policy, said,

“The Water Framework Directive gives a basic protection for our rivers and waterlife, and has resulted over the years in millions of pounds of investment, mainly from water companies.

Any weakening of the WFD standards would have catastrophic implications for our waterways.

We are looking for Government commitment for greater protection for rivers, streams and wild fish following Brexit, and so ensuring that WFD’ standards remain as they are is of paramount importance to drive this.”


Hannah Freeman, Senior Government Affairs Officer at Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT) and Chair of the Blueprint for Water group in the UK, said: 

The Water Framework Directive has had a massive impact in the UK, including getting water companies to invest billions in cleaning up our rivers and restoring our aquatic habitats.

Protecting this law is essential to defend our basic human right to clean water and for all nature to thrive.’


Why are such laws important?

Freshwater ecosystems are the most threatened on the planet [2].

Sixty percent of EU waters are not healthy today because Member States have allowed them to be exploited and damaged for example by unsustainable agriculture, and destructive infrastructure, such as dams.

Shockingly, only 14% of rivers in England are classed as healthy. [3].

Through the WFD, Member States agreed to achieve “good status” for their waters by 2027 at the very latest. 2027 is also the year which the #ProtectWater campaign playfully poses as the fictional ‘expiration date’ for good beer.

Where political will exists, the WFD provides an effective framework for addressing the main pressures facing our waters [4], but Member States need to significantly step up their efforts and funding if the 2027 deadlines are to be achieved.

Results to improve the health of their waters have been few and far between, and Member States are now discussing how the law can be weakened to introduce greater flexibility for themselves.

More information about the #ProtectWater campaign is available at: www.livingrivers.eu or on the S&TC website:

Notes to editors: 

1. The #ProtectWater campaign is led by WWF EU, the European Environmental Bureau, European Anglers Alliance, European Rivers Network and Wetlands International, who together form the Living Rivers Europe coalition and have more than 40 million supporters between them. More than 100 organisations are backing the campaign.

In the UK a coalition of 11 organisations coordinated by Wildlife and Countryside Link are supporting the campaign including: Angling Trust and Fish Legal, British Canoeing, Freshwater Habitats Trust, Institute of Fisheries Management, Marine Conservation Society, The Rivers Trust, RSPB, Salmon and Trout Conservation, Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust (WWT), WWF-UK and ZSL Zoological Society of London.

2. Living Planet Report, WWF, 2016
3. European waters: Assessment of status and pressures 2018, EEA, 2018
4. Bringing life back to Europe’s waters: The EU water law in action, 2018


About the Water Framework Directive (WFD) and Living Rivers Europe

  • The WFD is one of the EU’s most progressive pieces of environmental legislation. It requires the protection, enhancement and restoration of our rivers, wetlands, lakes and coastal waters, but Member States are currently failing make it work on the ground.
  • Under the WFD, EU governments have committed to ensure no deterioration and achieve good status for the vast majority of all water bodies by 2015, and at the very latest by 2027.
  • Where implemented, the WFD has proved to be effective in achieving its goals of good water status and non-deterioration, successfully balancing environmental, social and economic requirements.
  • The WFD is currently undergoing its standard review in the form of a ‘fitness check’. Every piece of EU legislation goes through this process. The fitness check will look at the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and EU added value of the WFD (and its 'daughter’ directives) and the Floods Directive. It includes the ongoing stakeholder consultation and public consultation.
  • As the Living Rivers Europe coalition, we are working on safeguarding the EU WFD and strengthening its implementation and enforcement. Click here to read the full Living Rivers Europe vision statement.

Hardy partners with S&TC to help conserve wild fish

Hardy partners with S&TC

Salmon & Trout Conservation are proud to announce an exciting new partnership with leading tackle manufacturer, Hardy.

The collaboration will see the two organisations work together on various projects to conserve wild fish and their waters, including the production and auction of two truly bespoke Hardy outfits for S&TC’s glittering Annual Auction this November.

The flagship lot at this year’s auction is an extremely generous contribution from Hardy, with whom S&TC are proud to announce an exciting long-term partnership. Defined by their 1800's heritage and English-made, top quality tackle, such a collaboration combines not just Hardy’s and S&TC’s expertise and heritage, but their mutual passion for protecting wild fish and their habitats.

Conserving wild fish together

As the UK's leading wild fish charity, S&TC has been protecting and preserving our wild fish and freshwaters for over 115 years. Originally tackling the environmental pressures of the Industrial Revolution, S&TC today continue to achieve important successes for wild salmon and trout driven by three highly actionable conservation focuses: water quality, water quantity and protection from salmon farming.

This vision is defined and delivered through S&TC’s independent, science-led and action-driven campaigns. The charity receives no government money, their important work funded entirely by private donations, memberships and fundraising initiatives, such as their Annual Dinner and Auction at Fishmonger’s Hall in London, now in its 10th year.

As prominent wild fish conservationists, Hardy are proudly committed to protecting salmon, trout and the UK's waterways, which their partnership with S&TC is integral to achieving.


Exclusive auction lots

In an act of support for the cause, Hardy have generously donated two exceptional lots to the S&TC Annual Auction this year, which are expected to achieve handsome sums for S&TC’s important work:

Unique S&TC Hardy Complete Angler Outfit

  • One of a kind, 001 of 001
  • 1 x Hardy Salmon Smuggler 14'6"#10 rod with limited edition Hardy 'Perfect' reel
  • 1 x Hardy Trout Smuggler 9'0"#5 rod with limited edition Hardy 'Perfect' reel
  • Both to include matching fitted fly lines
  • 1 x Richard Wheatley handmade fly box with assortment of trout flies
  • 1 x Richard Wheatley handmade fly box with assortment of salmon flies
  • Presented in a custom-built leather case by Casecraft UK (case valued at £3k)

Bespoke S&TC Hardy Trout Smuggler Set

  • 1 of 115 S&TC units, to celebrate our 115th year
  • 1 x Hardy Trout Smuggler 9'0"#5 rod with limited edition Hardy 'Perfect' reel
  • 1 x matching fitted fly line
  • 1 x Handmade Richard Wheatley fly box with an assortment of trout flies
  • Presented in an aluminium flight case with laser cut foam liner

Bespoke collector's items

The Hardy Complete Angler Outfit is an entirely unique, never to be repeated, bespoke item, which is currently being handcrafted for S&TC at Hardy’s headquarters at Alnwick, England.

The Hardy Trout Smuggler is equally special; 1 of 115 to celebrate the 115 years that S&TC has been actively conserving wild fish in the UK.

Official photographs of the exclusive lots, which are expected to appeal to collectors and keen anglers alike, are expected soon. In the meantime, you can find out more  on our Hardy page.


Find out more and make a sealed bid

The lots are part of S&TC’s exclusive live auction on the 14th November 2018, which is now sold out. However, S&TC are accepting private sealed bids.

Please follow the link below, or contact S&TC’s fundraising manager, Guy Edwards, to find out more and/or submit bids: Guy@salmon-trout.org | 01425 652 461.

Anne Voss-Bark Memorial Award 2018

In its fourth year, the Anne Voss-Bark Memorial Award 2018 is now open to students.

See below for details on this exciting award, and please share with any suitable students you may know.


What is the Anne Voss-Bark Memorial Award?

Set up by Salmon & Trout Conservation in collaboration with the Arundel Arms and Fario Club, the Anne Voss-Bark Memorial Award 2018 offers students:

  • One week work experience with the West Country Rivers Trust; learning catchment management and water science from the Trusts eminent scientists
  • Two day fly fishing course
  • Complimentary stay at the Arundell Arms hotel during the work experience
  • £250

The work experience for the winning student will be organised for this autumn.


Who is the Anne Voss-Bark Award open to?

The award is open to young fisheries or aquatic students and offers an unbeatable opportunity to study the practical elements of river restoration and management.


What does a previous winner say?

Vicky Fowler, from Holmfirth, Yorkshire who studied biological science at Exeter University, is a previous winner of the Award and found the experience extremely beneficial in her future career. She says,

“This was such a rewarding experience and it was the first time that I had appreciated how science impacts in the real world.

It was a fantastic opportunity to learn about the practical side of river management, including conservation, catchment management, identifying funding opportunities and communicating with different stakeholders. I really did learn a huge amount.”

Vicky is now working towards gaining a PhD and is studying with the British Antarctic survey team. Her eventual aim is to stay in the aquatic conservation field but working on a very practical level.

Dr Janina Gray, Head of Science at S&TC, says,

“Vicky is a fantastic example of why this Award is so important and offers such an amazing opportunity for young fisheries/aquatic students to gain unbeatable work experience.”


Who was Ann Voss-Bark?

Anne Voss-Bark was a dedicated conservationist and prominent hotelier. Her love of fly fishing made her aware of changes in the countryside detrimental to our rivers and fish. She worked tirelessly to see this demise reversed.

Anne was a strong supporter of the S&TC (then S&TA), the only UK fisheries campaigning charity. She was a Council Member, Vice Chairman and finally Vice President of the charity.

Anne, with others, also founded the West Country Rivers Trust, embracing the concept of total river management.

Anne will also always be well-remembered as the perfect hostess at the Arundell Arms in Lifton, Devon, which was rather run down on acquisition but developed by her over nearly 50 years into today’s eminent fishing and country sports hotel.


How can students apply for the Anne Voss-Bark Award 2018?

Wild fish and their habitats were of great importance to Anne, and we look for the same level of  passion in our applicants.

To apply, in no more than 500 words explain what this work experience opportunity means to you, why you should get this opportunity, and how it would benefit you.

The Closing date for applications is 31st July 2018.

To submit an entry or for further information on the Award, please contact Dr Janina Gray, Head of Science at S&TC by email on: janina@salmon-trout.org

Hardy Fishing tackle donates proceeds of limited edition reel project to support our ongoing and vital Atlantic Salmon conservation work

Hardy has donated £22,500 to Salmon & Trout Conservation (S&TC) towards their salmon conservation campaigns in both Scotland and England!

The donation comes from sales of the 148 Hotspur Cascapedia limited edition reels released earlier in the year to celebrate 950 years of the Percy family – the present Head of the family, the 12th Duke of Northumberland, is S&TC’s President.

The funds will primarily be used to fund S&TC’s Scottish team giving evidence to the Scottish Parliamentary Committee Inquiry into salmon farming and its impact on wild salmon and sea trout, and also on the continuing work to limit exploitation of salmon in English coastal netting fisheries.

Paul Knight, Salmon & Trout Conservation’s CEO, said:

“This donation from Hardy is a fantastic contribution towards our salmon conservation work, and will particularly help us to collect a full evidence dossier to present to the Scottish Parliamentary Committee’s Inquiry into salmon farming and its impact on wild salmon and sea trout. 

It was a great idea to produce a limited-edition reel to celebrate 900 years of the Percy family, and extremely generous of Hardy to distribute the profits from the sale in this way.”

Paul Knight added:

It is particularly pleasing that Hardy is investing in wild fish conservation like this.  Healthy fish stocks, rivers and lakes are the foundation of good fisheries, but their protection and conservation are expensive. 

Hardy recognises this and is taking responsibility by donating towards the cost, for which we are extremely grateful.  We look to other manufacturers and retailers to follow Hardy excellent example.”    

Grant Harris, Managing Director of Pure Fishing, owners of Hardy, said during the presentation:

“This has been a really exciting project and one of multiple success for all concerned.  The team here at Hardy, Alnwick had to pull out all the stops to make sure this was a success for the trust whilst matching the high specification requirement and functionality of all of our products.

We are also delighted that our customers are actually using the reels on the river which is exactly what they were intended for whilst knowing they have supported this initiative.”

 He added:

“We are seeing more evidence than ever before that suggests the future of the Atlantic Salmon is in serious jeopardy, for this we felt that it was important to rally our resources to support such an important cause.”

S&TC auction offers lots from fishing to feasting that money can’t buy

Keen cricketing fans will be rushing to bid in Salmon & Trout Conservation's annual auction for a rare chance to fish and then enjoy lunch on the glorious River Itchen in the esteemed company of the one and only voice of cricket; Henry Calthorpe Blofeld or ‘Blowers' as he is often affectionately called.

This unique opportunity to eat, meet and fish with a celebrity hero or two like Henry Blofeld is up for grabs in our renowned charity auction.

The S&TC annual on-line, silent and ‘live' auctions are gearing up to offer some truly remarkable and rare opportunities to bid for exclusive fishing opportunities, stunning works of art, fishing and feasting packages as well as special shoot days.

The online auction opens on 18th September and will run for six-weeks, while the silent and live auctions will be held during our prestigious Dinner, held in the classic splendour of Fishmongers' Hall in London on Thursday 12th October. The redesigned auction site will include the facility for bidders not attending the Dinner to leave commission bids on those items only on offer at the Dinner.

Veronica Kruger, the S&TC Dinner and Auction organiser says:

"At last year's auction and dinner we raised an impressive £100,000. With the support of our generous donors and bidders we feel very confident that we will raise even more this year. There is something for everyone and to suit every pocket in both the online and live auctions. From a VIP day at Newbury Races to a classic two nights fishing break at the famous Arundell Arms in Devon. Generous donations mean that we can offer sculpture, art, dining, fine wines, and a wide variety of fishing – sea trout, salmon, grayling and bass, from the chalkstreams and coastline of southern England all the way to the Outer Hebrides. Guide prices start at just £50."

Paul Knight, Chief Executive of S&TC says:

"We rely heavily on this major annual fund-raising event to support our important scientific research as we do not receive any funding from Government. Our on-going national Riverfly Census has clearly identified the shocking state of some of our freestone rivers and chalkstreams. But there is much more that needs to be done in terms of research and providing the evidence and data needed to protect our rivers and aquatic wildlife, as well as identifying workable solutions. We hope that as many people as possible who love to fish or just enjoy these unique river environments will support us and join in the competition to bid for some exceptional experiences."

The S&TC Annual Online auction opens on Monday 18th September (when registration opens at www.salmon-trout.org).

For more information or to donate auction lots, please contact: Veronica Kruger on email: auction@salmon-trout.org.

Aliens in the app – Our invasive species series

We are releasing an 'invasive species' series, so you can help to identify species in your river that shouldn't be there!

The update contains detailed images on two non-native shrimp – the demon shrimp and the killer shrimp. These shrimps are very bad news for our native shrimp (Gammarus pulex).

Let us know any sightings of these aliens and report them to your local Environment Agency as a matter of urgency.

For all water users, by simply following the Check Clean Dry process, you can do your bit to stop the spread of invasive species.

Download the app from: www.riverinvertebratelarvae.co.uk.

Consumers asked to challenge supermarkets on the source of Scottish farmed salmon

Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland is inviting consumers to help identify those supermarkets that are stocking salmon from farms which are failing to control deadly sea lice parasites.

The inexorable growth of the salmon farming industry in recent years has occurred at considerable environmental cost, particularly the impact of high numbers of sea lice parasites spreading from fish farms to threaten highly vulnerable juvenile Scottish wild salmon and sea trout populations. In many areas, despite the intensive use of aggressive chemicals and other methods to control sea lice on salmon farms, numbers of the parasites are frequently over the industry’s recommended Code of Good Practice threshold for treatment.

Research indicates that there are some 120 salmon farms in Scotland within regions where the industry’s own aggregated sea lice figures exceed the recommended threshold limits.

Fish farm cages can contain hundreds of thousands of farmed salmon, which, where treatments fail, act as efficient hosts for the sea lice parasite, which then reproduces, releasing huge numbers of mobile juvenile sea lice out into the local marine environment.

Carrying an unnaturally high burden of sea lice is known to compromise severely the survival of juvenile migratory salmonids. Lice feed by grazing on the surface of the fish, eating the mucous and skin. Large numbers of lice soon cause the loss of fins, severe scarring, secondary infections and, in time, death. Quite literally, the fish are eaten alive.

Although background levels of these parasites occur naturally in the sea, juvenile wild salmon and sea trout are not equipped to cope with large infestations. The advent of salmon farming, in largely enclosed sea lochs, has led to a fundamental change in the density and occurrence of sea lice in parts of the coastal waters of the west Highlands and Islands, with gravely negative consequences for juvenile wild salmonids.

Dr Janina Gray, Head of Science with S&TC, believes it is time for a positive change:

“The long-term goal has to be closed containment, which biologically separates the farmed fish from wild fish and the farms from the wider environment, preventing the spread of sea lice and other diseases. In the meantime, we need to identify and put pressure on those supermarkets, which are selling farmed salmon from areas where sea lice exceed the recommended limits ,and to be more responsible. We need consumers to be our eyes and ears and take up the challenge to help us make a difference.”

We would like consumers to help identify those supermarkets which are selling fresh or smoked salmon grown in those parts of Scotland which are failing to keep sea lice numbers within reasonable limits.

Dr Gray explained: “We are asking consumers, whenever they are in a supermarket, to check out the label on any Scottish salmon packaging. There is no need to purchase the product, just take a picture of the packaging and upload to social media.”

The picture should be accompanied by one of the following captions:

If the salmon has no farm origin listed on the packaging, tag the supermarket and ask them why?

@tesco Which farm does this salmon come from? #salmonfarmreform @SalmonTroutCons

If the salmon comes from one of the farms listed on the S&TC website: (https://www.salmon-trout.org/uploads/image/FarmList.jpg) that are in a confirmed high sea lice region, tag the supermarket and ask why they are selling it.

@sainsburys Should you be selling this? #salmonfarmreform @SalmonTroutCons

Dr Gray concluded:

“We can all help to ensure that salmon stocked by supermarkets does not originate from the most damaging regions. The supermarkets are failing in their environmental obligations by selling fish from regions of Scotland where sea lice are not being adequately controlled. Consumers have a right to feel confident that any farmed salmon is sourced from a region where sea lice numbers are under reasonable control, thus limiting the threat to wild salmon and sea trout.”

For more advice, please contact Lauren Mattingley at S&TC by email: lauren@salmon-trout.org.

Picture caption: Carrying an unnaturally high burden of sea lice is known to seriously affect the survival of juvenile migratory wild Atlantic salmon and sea trout populations. Lice feed by grazing on the surface of the fish, eating the mucous and skin. Large numbers of lice soon cause the loss of fins, severe scarring, secondary infections and, in time, death. Quite literally, the fish are eaten alive.