Skip to main content

To: Roseanna Cunningham: Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform

Stop Toxic Salmon Farm Chemicals Polluting Scottish Lochs

Stop Toxic Salmon Farm Chemicals Polluting Scottish Lochs

We are calling on Roseanna Cunningham MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform to:

- Ban the use of Formaldehyde in freshwater lochs until a public consultation on its safety and use can be held

Why is this important?

More than 22 tonnes of formaldehyde, which causes cancer and is used as an embalming fluid, were poured into cages to disinfect salmon in Loch Ness, Loch Sheil, Loch Lochy and seven other lochs over nine months in 2019.

Residents of Lochaber and elsewhere in the Highlands are rightly worried as many of these lochs feed public water supplies.

Formaldehyde is a colourless, strong-smelling gas used in a liquid solution called formalin to treat farmed salmon in freshwater lochs. SEPA, which authorises its use, says that uncontrolled releases “have the potential to cause significant harm to the environment”. The chemical was classified as a human carcinogen by the UK government in 2016.

New data released by Sepa disclosed that a total 22.4 tonnes of formaldehyde were used by 12 fish farms on 29 occasions between April and December 2019. Seven companies were given permission to apply the chemical, with the vast majority – 19.6 tonnes – being used by Norwegian-owned Mowi, formerly known as Marine Harvest.

At one loch – Loch Lochy, near Spean Bridge – Mowi used 11 tonnes of formaldehyde – far more than elsewhere. The company poured 3.2 tonnes into fish cages at nearby Loch Arkaig, 2.8 tonnes at Loch Sheil in Glenfinnan and 2.2 tones at Camas na Mult on Loch Ness.


Reasons for signing

  • If we are serious about protecting the environment we need to do it!
  • Farming salmon is the very opposite of what we should be doing if we value biodiversity. Polluting what should be pristine natural environments so that more people can buy cheaper fish is a massive step in the wrong direction.
  • There appears to be a link between salmon farms located in main wild salmon runs and the loss of wild salmon. Government and industry appear to be turning a bling eye by not fully investigating the impacts of all chemicals used in salmon farming and that appear to be entering the environment and the human food chain. Salmon must not be farmed at the expense of wild salmon. A proper independent investigation is required.


2020-10-31 13:22:10 +0000

10,000 signatures reached

2020-06-16 23:32:35 +0100

5,000 signatures reached

2020-05-31 11:06:06 +0100

1,000 signatures reached

2020-05-28 10:30:26 +0100

500 signatures reached

2020-05-27 13:56:16 +0100

100 signatures reached

2020-05-27 12:58:23 +0100

50 signatures reached

2020-05-27 12:11:00 +0100

25 signatures reached

2020-05-27 11:39:30 +0100

10 signatures reached