Salmon farmers’ beach clean-up removes 23 tons of litter from Scottish black-spots

Editorial Staff

In total, salmon farming company staff spent 661 hours, equivalent to 83 working days, cleaning various beaches and lochs across Scotland.

Volunteers from Scottish salmon farms cleared more than 23 tons of litter from the Highlands and islands beaches last year.

This effort was part of an initiative to maintain cleanliness in the areas where they live and work. While some of the beach litter was related to aquaculture, the vast majority was not, and had either been washed up on the shore or left behind by tourists and other visitors.

The biggest volume was at Miavaig in the Western Isles where nine tons was found. Five tons was found on Gigha, three tons at Gravir in Western Isles and three tons near Gairloch in Highland. The next largest amounts were 900kg in Loch Bracadale, Skye, and 600kg on Loch Seaforth shore, Harris.

A significant portion of the waste comprised non-biodegradable wet wipes, often improperly flushed down toilets

Unusual items found included a car license plate, engine parts, a barbecue, shoes, and children’s toys.The data for 2023, which involved Mowi Scotland, Scottish Sea Farms, Bakkafrost Scotland, Cooke Aquaculture Scotland, and Loch Duart, indicates that 23.6 tons of litter were removed by the staff, equivalent to the weight of around 18 Volkswagen Golf cars, according to a release from Salmon Scotland.

Mowi Scotland, in particular, was recognized for its role in clearing over 300 tyres dumped at Loch Ness. The company provided personnel and equipment for the task.

Mowi volunteers spearhead clean-up of 300 illegally-dumped tyres from Loch Ness

Salmon Scotland’s CEO, Tavish Scott, praised the volunteers’ efforts but highlighted the alarming amount of litter they found. He emphasized the industry’s commitment to regular beach cleans and its dedication to protecting the marine environment, with plans to continue these efforts in 2024 and beyond. This initiative aligns with the sector’s sustainability charter to prevent marine debris from aquaculture and recover any reported items.


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