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To: The Scottish Government
Time to clean up Scotland's Salmon farming industry
The Scottish salmon industry is in dire need of reform: ever increasing levels of sea lice which threaten Scotland’s wild salmon stocks, infectious diseases resulting in the deaths of millions of fish each year and contamination of our beautiful sea lochs and coastal waters from chemical pollutants have shown that this industry’s business model is broken.
Many jobs and much of Scotland's iconic wildlife depend on the health of our sea lochs and coastal waters. But Fergus Ewing, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy & Connectivity (REC) is determined to double Scotland’s production of farmed salmon by 2030. This would be an act of sheer recklessness given the grave concerns surrounding the industry as it is practised today.
The REC committee is inviting written evidence ahead of its inquiry into salmon farming in Scotland to be held later this year. It is vital that we make our voices heard and continue to press our MSPs to implement radical reform.
Find out more about the inquiry and how you can submit a response here:
Why is this 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.
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.
LET'S TELL THE SCOTTISH GOVERNMENT THAT SALMON FARMERS MUST CLEAN UP THEIR ACT BEFORE THEY ARE ALLOWED TO EXPAND.
On the 6th of February the Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform (ECCLR) Committee took evidence from the public. You can read that evidence here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/107592.aspx
Now, the Rural Economy & Connectivity (REC) Committee want to hear our views on the impact of salmon farming on the environment based on a recently published report: http://www.parliament.scot/S5_Rural/Inquiries/20180125_SAMS_Review_of_Environmental_Impact_of_Salmon_Farming_-_Report.pdf.
THIS IS WHAT TO DO:
Please write to the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee of the Scottish Parliament, in Word format, using this template
The email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Or post a letter to Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, T3.60, Scottish Parliament, Edinburgh 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.
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.
To see what we at SARNS think the Scottish Government should do, follow this link - it may give you some ideas about what you might say to the Parliamentary Inquiry: https://salmonaquaculturescotland.wordpress.com/clean-up-scotlands-unsustainable-fish-farming-industry/