Media coverage October 2017

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Two interesting letters in The Sunday Herald, 15 October 2017

More disease in Scottish salmon farms

Letter 1

TWO days after you published the article by Rob Edwards (A disgrace: 10 million salmon thrown away by fish farms in last year alone, Investigation, October 8) about the 10,000,000 salmon killed last year by disease, parasites and other problems on the plethora of polluting floating factory fish farms around our coast, yet another salmon farm fiasco hit the headlines.

Marine Harvest is in the thick of it again as thousands of fish at their farm on Loch Erisort, Lewis succumb to what is believed to be pasteurella skyensis, a bacterium named after the Isle of Skye where it was first identified. Ironically pasteurella skyensis is the most Scottish thing about this unfolding disaster as Marine Harvest is a Norwegian company.

Once again trucks are carrying tonnes of dead, diseased fish to England for incineration as toxic waste. How many rivers with vulnerable populations of native wild salmon will these contaminated convoys cross on the way to Widnes?

Instead of kowtowing to the mainly foreign-owned salmon farming industry the Scottish Government must protect our marine environment and our native salmon and sea trout. We need an immediate moratorium on the massive expansion of the industry. Fish farmers must build facilities to deal with their toxic waste on-site instead of transporting it hundreds of miles with the risk of poisoning numerous salmon rivers.

I urge Nicola Sturgeon and her Cabinet to stop promoting salmon farming and recognise it for the serious environmental hazard it is.

John F. Robins,

Save Our Seals Fund

Letter 2

YOUR report on the deaths of 10 million salmon last year due to disease and sea lice infestation (A disgrace: 10 million salmon thrown away by fish farms in last year alone, Investigation, October 8) reveals a disaster for fish welfare and the environment. The level of mortality shows that the salmon industry is operating beyond its limits.

But one proposed solution – closed containment systems which separate the salmon from their natural marine environment – comes with major problems for fish welfare of its own.

Taking salmon out of the sea and placing them into large enclosed systems is expensive. To make it profitable, the salmon would have to be kept at high stocking densities, increasing stress and the risk of aggression and injuries such as fin damage, causing suffering to the fish.

We have tried the same thing with land animals, especially pigs and chickens – taking them off the land and putting them into crowded sheds. It is called factory farming, and has led to numerous well-known problems which we should be reluctant to replicate with fish.

The real solution is not to take salmon out of their natural environment, but to manage them better – keeping them in lower numbers to prevent the build-up of parasites and disease. This would benefit the fishes’ welfare and reduce the impact on the environment, as well as reducing the appalling waste shown by your report.

Phil Brooke,

Welfare and Education Development Manager,

Compassion in World Farming

BBC Report, 20 October 2017

And the bad news goes on … Truly appalling report about the loss of 125,000 salmon on Lewis fish farms.

The BBC report ‘About 125,000 salmon have died due to a disease outbreak at two fish farms on the Isle of Lewis, BBC Scotland has learned.

Marine Harvest confirmed that the sites in Loch Erisort have been hit by the bacterium Pasturella Skyensis.

The company has apologised to local people concerned about the smell of decay in the area and the sight of lorries carrying away dead fish.’

To read the full article, click here.

The Sunday Times, 22 Oct 2017

Read in full online via Sunday Times: “Fish farms under fire for seal death toll”

Also of interest re seals - from Don Staniford

The Sunday Times, 29 Oct 2017

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