Scottish Government invites public contributions to an inquiry into the environmental impact of salmon farming

The Community of Arran Seabed Trust (C.O.A.S.T.) reports, 2nd February 2018: The Scottish Government is inviting views from the public before 8th February 2018 on the issues covered in a new report about the environmental interaction of salmon farming within the wider marine environment. The report is titled Review of the Environmental Impacts of Salmon Farming in Scotland and has been written by SAMS Research Services Ltd.

C.O.A.S.T. asks: Why is this issue important?
● Scotland’s seas are home to incredible wildlife, including wild salmon and sea trout, porpoises, dolphins, whales and seals and are home to a wealth of life on the seabed, including valuable crab, prawn and lobster fisheries. They are under threat because of the harmful impacts of open net salmon farming.
● A truly sustainable coastal economy can regenerate around many uses of restored seas and fisheries. Jobs are precious in rural areas. By allowing one industry to pollute the sea, we threaten jobs that use the sea sustainably, such as well-managed fisheries and wildlife tourism. By protecting them the coastal economy can thrive, long term.

C.O.A.S.T. states: These are the main problems the Scottish Government must tackle:
● Parasitic sea lice, thriving in overcrowded open net salmon pens, are driving wild salmon and sea trout numbers to dangerously low levels.
● Toxic chemicals designed to kill these sea lice now exceed safe levels in at least 45 Scottish sea lochs, and studies implicate them in harm to crustaceans and other forms of marine life far from the farm cages.
● A reported 130 salmon farms on Scotland’s west coast have fitted Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs) to their nets, to scare away seals with loud underwater noises. These ADDs also affect porpoises, dolphins and whales, even though it is illegal to disturb them. They can also cause hearing damage to these echo-locating animals, whose hearing is as important to them as eye-sight is to us. And if the ADDs don’t work, the government issues licences for fish farmers to shoot so called ‘rogue’ seals.
● Now the industry, with the government’s support, wants to speed up the issuing of permits for new farms, so that it can double its annual production to around 300,000 tonnes of salmon by 2030.

The environmental impacts of half that many salmon are already bad enough, so if you care about the health of our marine environment and are concerned about the devastating impact of salmon farming please act now.

C.O.A.S.T. is running a Petition to tell the Scottish Government that salmon farmers must clean up their act before they are allowed to expand.

C.O.A.S.T. advises: Here’s what to do:
The Salmon Aquaculture Reform Network Scotland (SARNS) is a growing coalition of community, coastal and environmental groups and concerned individuals from all over the west coast and islands of Scotland. We are campaigning for immediate reform of the salmon farming industry. There is an urgent deadline coming up — this is why…

● Two committees of the Scottish Parliament have decided to hold inquiries into the impact of salmon farming on Scotland’s environment. It’s a rare chance to tell the government what we think and we must make the most of it.

● The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee (ECCLR), will hear evidence on 6th February and will then report its findings to the Rural Economy and Connectivity (REC) Committee, which is holding its own inquiry in March.
There is more about the first part of the inquiry here:
If you leave us your email address we will let you know more as the inquiry proceeds. You will be able to watch a live video feed of the hearings for instance.

● To help their inquiries, the Scottish Parliament has commissioned an important report, reviewing the published scientific evidence for these environmental impacts.
You can read it here:
In the Scotsman, the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee convener, Graeme Dey, said:
“… we are now inviting views from the public on the issues covered in the report and the environmental interaction of salmon farming within the wider marine environment.”

● If you wish to submit your views and evidence before the 8th February deadline, here is how to do it:
Please write to the Convener of the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee of the Scottish Parliament, Mr Graeme Dey, in Word format, using this template
The email address is email hidden; JavaScript is required
Or post a letter to Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee, T3:40, Scottish Parliament, EH99 1SP

There are some notes on the inquiry’s page about confidentiality.
The maximum length is four pages of A4. Submissions must be about the environmental impact of fish farms in Scotland, ideally referring to the report above. It is better not to just cut and paste the words from this page if possible. Try to add your personal opinions and perhaps your own experiences on the west coast, for instance if you have been affected by the environmental impact of fish farms. If you are a visitor who might not come to Scotland again because of the environmental impact of fish farms, then tell the committee.
If reading about these environmental impacts has put you off buying farmed Scottish salmon then why not say that too.

● To see what SARNS believes is necessary, follow this link – — It may give you some ideas about what you might say to the Parliamentary Inquiry.


Source: Community of Arran Seabed Trust newsletter, 2nd February 2018. Also see


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