Fishermen denounce Scottish “expansion”

William Stoichevski

There has been a new call to rein in the “expansion” of salmon-farming in Scotland, after low returning numbers for the wild fish, however recent license awards suggest the industry and regulators have been toning things down for some time.

The calls to curb farming have come from an Argyll organization for salmon fishermen, Brexit-friendly newspaper, The National has reported.

“This year’s salmon count on the River Awe is incontrovertible evidence that the decline in wild fish in salmon farming’s southern heartland has become critical,” Roger Brook, chair of the Argyll District Fishery Board, was quoted as saying.

“We call upon the Scottish Government to take action on all issues within its regulatory control. Specifically, we ask for a review of the policy to facilitate the continued expansion of the salmon aquaculture industry without first addressing the negative impacts. Expansion of aquaculture without greater regulatory control is sounding the death knell for viable wild salmon populations in most of the West Highlands and Islands.”

For a retort, we tried to reach the Scottish Salmon Farmers advocacy president, Scot Landsburgh, but failed. He had been away at an industry event, from where he Tweeted this comment:

SalmonBusiness’s own look at Scottish license issuances reveal that far from encouraging an expansion of salmon-farming, the industry and its regulators have been trimming things back despite growing interest and strengthened supply chain now bent on exports. The market — and its fear of price shocks like those felt recently — may have pre-empted expansion on its own.

The government’s own numbers reveal just one new grower receiving a license in 2017 and one less grow-out in operation. Lice and water conditions have lead to early culls and moved operations.

In contrast, the heyday of salmon-production licenses was clearly 2007, when 155 licenses were issued (similar to 2008). Historically, 30 were issued in 2006 and about 10 in 2015.

In-line with Canada and Chile, the Scottish Government is currently reviewing a new Scottish aquaculture law expected out in 2018.



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