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

SNH and EA formally notified of threat of environmental damage from escaped farmed salmon

13 October 2020
Salmon & Trout Conservation (S&TC) formally notifies NatureScot (formerly SNH) and the Environment Agency of threat of environmental damage to protected wild salmon SACs following the recent major escape of farmed salmon off the Mull of Kintyre https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-glasgow-west-53913708 Following the major escape from a salmon farm off the east side of the Mull of Kintyre […]

Not just another escape

01 October 2020
As a moderate late summer storm abated, rumours that one of Mowi’s salmon farms between the Mull of Kintyre and Arran was in trouble were confirmed by a statement from the company: “On August 20, 2020, Mowi’s salmon farm at Carradale North, consisting of 10 circular net pens containing 550,000 salmon (at 4.2kgs), shifted position […]

S&TC leaves the Missing Salmon Alliance

17 July 2020
After discussion and detailed consideration of the tactical approach, the Missing Salmon Alliance has decided to pursue an advocacy course by engaging with the Scottish government with respect to future regulation of the aquaculture sector. Salmon and Trout Conservation (S&TC) has decided to withdraw from the Alliance to pursue an alternative approach. The Missing Salmon Alliance […]

Why a strict ceiling on sea lice must be applied to all Scotland’s salmon farms

24 June 2020
Why a strict ceiling on sea lice must be applied to all Scotland’s salmon farms Wild salmon and sea trout populations in Scotland are dangerously low. For wild salmon and sea trout in the west Highlands and Islands to be properly protected from the negative impact of salmon farming, the effective control of sea lice […]

NASCO 2020

11 June 2020
Paul Knight reports on the 37th Annual Meeting of NASCO The North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation (NASCO) met for its Annual Meeting in the first week of June, although this year, uniquely, all the meetings were held virtually by video link, with those not directly involved being able to listen in by phone.  Despite concerns […]

Salmon farmers own data makes the case for much lower sea lice limits

09 June 2020
Corin Smith writes, “Contrary to what you may believe salmon farmers go to great lengths to protect Atlantic salmon smolts from the harm caused by sea lice. The problem is they only protect the smolts inside the salmon farms, not the wild ones on the outside.”  Analysis combining multiple industry and government datasets reveals the […]

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 […]

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