Media coverage May 2018

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Herald Scotland 3 May 2018

Salmon farmers hit back at critical report on their industry

Oban Times, 3 May 2018

Here’s a report in the Oban Times about the recent call for an immediate moratorium on any new salmon farms or the expansion of existing ones.  Twenty seven organisations including Friends of the Sound of Jura are backing this call. Read the full text below.

​Fishery trusts and boards in Lochaber have backed a fresh demand for an immediate moratorium on any new open-cage marine salmon farms or any expansion of existing sites.

Both Lochaber District Salmon Fishery Board (LDSFB) and the Lochaber Fisheries Trust (LFT) joined 25 other environmental non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to back the call for a moratorium from Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TC Scotland).

S&TC Scotland says that until current failings in the regulation of the salmon farming industry and the environmental problems caused – as identified by the Scottish Parliament’s Environment Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee – are resolved, there must be an immediate moratorium on any new marine open-cage fish farms or any expansion of existing fish farm sites.

The call for an immediate moratorium has been backed by Angling Trust, Argyll District Salmon Fishery Board, Argyll Fisheries Trust, Atlantic Salmon Trust, Community of Arran Seabed Trust, Fauna & Flora International, Fish Legal, Friends of Loch Etive, Friends of the Sound of Jura, Lochaber District Salmon Fishery Board (LDSFB), Lochaber Fisheries Trust (LFT), National Trust for Scotland, Orkney Trout Fishing Association, Outer Hebrides Fisheries Trust, S&TC Scotland, Scottish Anglers’ National Association, Salmon Aquaculture Reform Network Scotland, Save Seil Sound, Scottish Creel Fishermen’s Federation, Scottish Sea Angling Conservation Network, Sustainable Inshore Fisheries Trust, Scottish Salmon Think-Tank, Skye District Salmon Fishery Board, Skye & Lochalsh Environment Forum, Skye & Wester Ross Fisheries Trust, Wester Ross Area Salmon Fishery Board, and Whale and Dolphin Conservation.

Andrew Graham-Stewart, director of S&TC Scotland, said: ‘The all-party ECCLR Committee of the Scottish Parliament unanimously agreed its report in March and concluded that the current consenting and regulatory framework for the salmon farming industry is inadequate to address the environmental issues. They were not convinced the sector is being regulated sufficiently, or regulated sufficiently effectively, and made it clear that this needs to be addressed urgently because further expansion must be on an environmentally sustainable basis.

‘They also said that if the current issues are not addressed, this expansion will be unsustainable and may cause irrecoverable damage to the environment, concluding “the status quo is not an option”.’

This week, Jon Gibb, clerk to the LDSFB, said: ‘The Lochaber DSFB is supportive of a moratorium on the further expansion of poorly located inshore fish farms close to the mouths of wild salmon and sea trout rivers.

‘We would, however, like to see both a thriving farmed and wild fish sector in Scotland overseen by streamlined and robust regulatory regime that protects all aspects of the environment, including wild fish.

‘We feel that the future of Scottish salmon farming lies in offshore locations away from the paths of migrating salmon and foraging sea trout, or even in the closed containment seawater farms that are currently being trialled in Norway.

‘A staged process of relocation of sensitive inshore sites should be undertaken as soon as possible.’

LFT director Diane Baum also voiced concerns, saying: ‘New farms and expansions of existing farms have recently been permitted in and around Lochaber and we are aware of many others at the planning stage.

‘There is a real risk that Lochaber will be full of farms that have been allowed under a consenting and regulatory framework that is inadequate to address environmental issues.’

Last week, the Highland Council granted planning permission for two new salmon farms on Skye, and Guy Linley-Adams, solicitor for S&TC Scotland, said if planning departments do not believe that the firm conclusions of the ECCLR Committee’s report are sufficient to enable them to refuse such applications and so are carrying on with business as usual, then a moratorium is needed now.

‘If we agree with the MSPs on the ECCLR Committee that further expansion must be sustainable and that, unless current issues are addressed, any expansion will be unsustainable and may cause irrecoverable damage, there can be no other logical conclusion,’ he added.

Asked to comment, Marine Harvest business support manager Steve Bracken told the Lochaber Times: ‘The salmon industry will give evidence this week in the Scottish Parliament and we will then await the final outcome of the [Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee] inquiry later in July.’

Sunday Times, 6 May 2018

Fears voiced about "supersize salmon farms"

The Scotsman, 8 May 2018

We welcome this opinion piece in today's Scotsman regarding the ongoing inquiry about the impact of aquaculture, where Rural Economy minister Fergus Ewing is due to give evidence tomorrow.  At the same time, a petition with more than 41,000 signatures – calling for regular testing of waste water from salmon farms – is being presented. 

The Scotsman says: 'Whatever the outcome, one thing seems clear – the fish-farming industry must clean up its act if Scotland is to keep its status and remain a global leader in the sector.' 

Read more at: https://www.scotsman.com/news/opinion/ilona-amos-fish-farms-are-catching-other-fish-to-clean-their-salmon-1-4736105

Oban Times, 10 May 2018

Call for moratorium on new open cage salmon farms

Local fishery trusts and boards are calling for an immediate moratorium on new open cage marine salmon farms or any expansion of existing sites.

Save Seil Sound, Argyll District Salmon Fishery Board, Argyll Fisheries Trust, Friends of Loch Etive and Friends of the Sound of Jura have joined 22 other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to back the call by Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland (S&TC Scotland).

The move comes as the Scottish Parliament investigates the environmental impact of Atlantic salmon farming in Scotland. The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee gathered evidence ahead of the current inquiry by the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee (RECC).

Friends of the Sound of Jura was one of the organisations that gave evidence to the ECCLR last month, and in February the committee took evidence from the Dunbeg-based Scottish Association for Marine Science.

Andrew Graham-Stewart, director of S&TC Scotland, said: ‘The all-party ECCLR Committee of the Scottish Parliament unanimously agreed its report in March and concluded the current consenting and regulatory framework for the salmon farming industry is inadequate to address environmental issues.

‘They were not convinced the sector is being regulated sufficiently, or regulated sufficiently effectively, and made it clear this needs to be addressed urgently because further expansion must be on an environmentally sustainable basis.

‘They also said if current issues are not addressed, this expansion will be unsustainable and may cause irrecoverable damage to the environment, concluding “the status quo is not an option”.’

Last week, the RECC heard evidence from representatives of the aquaculture industry. The following individuals were invited to give evidence: Scott Landsburgh, former chief executive, Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation; Ben Hadfield, managing director, Marine Harvest Scotland; Craig Anderson, chief executive, Scottish Salmon Company; Grant Cumming, managing director, Grieg Seafood Shetland, Grieg Seafood; and Stewart Graham, Group Managing Director, Gael Force Group.

After the meeting the committee reviewed all the evidence it had heard on salmon farming in Scotland.

Asked last week to comment on the call for the moratorium, Marine Harvest’s business support manager Steve Bracken said he would await the final outcome of the RECC inquiry in July.

This comes as Argyll and Bute Council last week permitted an increase in biomass of farmed fish on two farms on Loch Fyne.

Meanwhile, Dawnfresh has submitted a planning application to increase the number of pens at Airds Point on Loch Etive from 10 to 12 without increasing the current biomass. The revised application also allows for an upgrade to the cages, as well as installing new feeding equipment on each pen.

Herald Scotland , 14 May 2018

Solutions to problems of salmon rearing?

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The Sound of Jura is home to some of the most fascinating and diverse marine life in Scotland.  We seek to protect the Sound, the River Add and their local users from threats to the area’s wildlife and local sustainable economy.

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