by John F. Robins, Animal Concern Scotland
About thirty years ago an Animal Concern Director and I attended one of the first annual conferences of the Scottish fish farming industry. It was held in a wee hall in Oban and there were perhaps a hundred people attending.
A student from University of Stirling gave a presentation. He had been working on a west of Scotland fresh water salmon farm raising smolts for transfer to cages in floating factory fish farms in sea lochs. His job was to monitor predator interactions at the farm. In three months he had filled three freezers with birds such as heron and diving ducks which had paid the ultimate price for trying to steal smolts from the fish farm.
From that moment on I knew that floating factory fish farms would be a dangerous blot on the Scottish environment. For three decades I have been trying to get politicians to admit that salmon farming is an environmental disaster. Most of them, especially Ministers in the Scottish Government, think I’m an eejit and that the sun shines out of every orifice of their mainly Norwegian fish farming friends.
If you take the link below to a recent article in the Sunday Herald you will see that I might not actually be the eejit the Government thinks I am. The article by Rob Edwards uses Government files obtained using Freedom of Information laws to show that filthy floating factory fish farms have indeed caused great damage to our marine environment.
The damage inflicted may have catastrophic long term effects as the chemicals used to kill sealice also kill plankton, the very base of the marine food chain which includes the spawn and fry of shellfish, crustaceans and many species of fish.
So what is the Scottish Government planning to do about it? They intend encouraging massive expansion of salmon farming in Scotland, which will make Norway very happy as lots of the salmon farms are Norwegian-owned, so Norway will continue to get the profits while Scotland continues to get the pollution.
John F. Robins, Secretary and Campaigns Consultant
Animal Concern, Post Office Box 5178, Dumbarton G82 5YJ