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

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

latest news

Review of the Report of the Salmon Interactions Working Group

11 May 2020
Executive summary Download full review here: HERE Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland’s 2016 Petition to the Scottish Parliament led to the 2018 ECCLR and REC Committee inquiries into salmon farming. The REC Committee identified that “the ‘status quo’ in terms of regulation and enforcement of the fish farming industry is not acceptable”. In response, the […]

Salmon Farm Regulation: S&TC initial response to SIWG report

05 May 2020
Report fails to advocate the simple regulatory system urgently required to protect wild fish including adherence to the precautionary principle Initial response to the Salmon Interactions Working Group (SIWG) Report  Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland                                         […]

Salmon Farming: New study shows economic costs never assessed by government

20 April 2020
An independent economic report [1], commissioned by two leading Scottish charities [2], has revealed that the Scottish Government has failed to assess the costs the salmon farming industry causes to other economic sectors and has only considered those benefits the industry brings. As a result, the report proposes the Scottish Government’s policy of supporting the […]

S&TCS writes to Scottish Ministers: MSA position on salmon farming regulation

02 April 2020
Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TCS) writes to Scottish Ministers to outline Missing Salmon Alliance’s formally agreed position on salmon farming regulation. Roseanna Cunningham MSP Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Fergus Ewing MSP Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy 2 April 2020   Dear Ministers Regulation of salmon farming with particular reference […]

Missing Salmon Alliance: Urgent Implementation of new system of regulation for fish farms

25 March 2020
The Missing Salmon Alliance members today published updated guidance on the need for the urgent implementation of a new system of regulation for fish farms in Scotland. Regulation must include: 1.            The clear identification of a Scottish public authority with the statutory function of protecting wild fish from the negative interactions […]

Scottish Ministers’ lamentable failure to regulate salmon farming

21 February 2020
Scottish Ministers’ lamentable failure to regulate salmon farming to protect wild fish continues, while industry’s relentless expansion gathers pace  Almost two years after first Parliamentary report said  “the status quo is not an option”, S&TCS, other NGOs and Scottish community groups warn that their next step is to call and campaign for a boycott of Scottish farmed […]

Can a “feed the world” mantra justify trashing our marine environment?

09 December 2019
“The suggestion that salmon farming is somehow justifiable in order to feed the world simply will not wash.” Andrew Graham-Stewart, Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland I have been cursing Fergus Ewing MSP, Cabinet Secretary in Scotland for the Rural Economy, of late. Of course, it is nothing personal. I will explain. On November 6 I […]

“Responsibly Sourced” Are supermarkets facing a crisis of credibility?

09 December 2019
“Supermarkets face a crisis of credibility unless they take immediate action to address systemic failings in their own farmed salmon buying policies.” With the launch of a report into the state of farmed salmon being sold on supermarket shelves, Scottish conservation and welfare charities, Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TCS) and OneKind, are jointly calling […]

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 […]

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.

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