Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Corin Smith - Inside Scottish Salmon Feedlots

Farmed Scottish salmon is a popular meal which producers suggest is one of the most sustainable and ethical farmed proteins, but is it?
Let me be clear. Of the 300 or so salmon farms owned and operated by the big five multinationals present in Scotland, all of them are filled with hard working decent people trying to make a living. There are lots of farms who operate to high standards and whose fish health is good. Albeit, the nature of open cage technology means every single farm deposits organic waste at much the same rate and there is always a free flow of disease and parasites, where they occur. However, there are far too many farms operating at very low standards, dragging down the reputation of the industry and causing huge environmental damage. They are not a tiny minority. Nealry half of farms that harvested in 2018 had a mortality rate above 20%. 

These low standards are enabled by The Scottish Government's refusal to match higher international standards for the farming of salmon, stock welfare and environmental protection, and enshrine them in law.
There are salmon farms that have consistently produced salmon with full cycle mortality of less than 5% and sea lice levels below one per fish. It is possible. However there are many farms who year after year operate at full cycle mortality well over 20% and with sea lice loads regularly numbering in the dozens if not hundreds (all species and life stages).
As long as the industry seeks to protect these consistently failing farms and operators, I have no option but to treat the industry as a whole. 
The impacts of salmon farming does not need to be this way. Waste can easily be collected and removed during the production cycle. It could even be used to produce biogas and green energy locally. Novel feeds are being developed which do not require the use of wild fish as the primary source of feed. Numerous technologies are well developed that drastically reduce the prevalence of disease and parasites and interactions with wild fish. 
However, as long as Scotland's Government refuses to regulate in favour of innovation and continues to refuse to implement legally enforceable thresholds for pollution, emissions and welfare, there will remain the opportunity for certain operators to continue to to drag the reputation of all the others through the mud, and inflict huge environmental damage.
It is a matter of fact that Scotland has the weakest regulations on welfare and environmental protection of all the salmon farming nations, by quite some distance. 
Salmon farmed in Scottish waters is permitted up to 40 times higher sea lice levels than like for like operations in Norway. 
If you want food you can truly believe in write to The Scottish Government "scottish.ministers@gov.scot" and tell them you want:
- An end to the dumping of faeces and waste feed on sea floor
- Legally enforceable thresholds for fish welfare
- Live monitoring of feed use on salmon farms
- Unannounced inspections of all harvesting salmon farms each year by the Fish Health Inspectorate and SEPA
- Legally enforced thresholds for emissions of chemicals, organic waste and sea lice
- Benthic and Fish health data to be collected directly by Scottish Government agencies
- The Scottish Government to assume, and execute, powers of closure, enforced harvesting and licence revokation where salmon farms breach environmental and fish health regulations
- The mission of regulating agencies to be amended to remove the requirement to "support industry expansion"
- Publication of all data relating to salmon farming in line with international best practice, www.barentswatch.no/en/fishhealth/
Many thanks to Claire Mercer Nairne and Jack at Meikleour Arms Hotel & Restaurant for their professional assistance in dressing the plate used in this film. Meikleour Arms was one of the first Hotels in Scotland to completely remove farmed salmon from their menu and were delighted to help highlight these issues.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Understanding Sea Lice on Salmon Farms - Short Educational Video

Animation Credit: Watershed Watch Salmon Society

This is a short educational animation piece that best describes the issue that face pink salmon in North America, Canada and Atlantic Salmon in Ireland, Scotland, UK and Norway.

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Eaten Alive - End of an Era

This film was commissioned by Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland What has occurred across the west coast of Scotland over the last few decades is nothing short of a travesty. We have been responsible for the systematic demise of a great natural resource, decimating the wild populations of salmon and sea-trout in order to support big business in farmed salmon. 

In the case of the river Ewe and Loch Maree system, the installation of a fish farm in Loch Ewe correlated with the decline of what was once the worlds premier destination for sea-trout in the world. Not only have we lost the sea-trout, but almost all the jobs its supported. This is the story of the demise of Loch Maree.

Saturday, 9 March 2019

New Boycott Campaign

Organic Salmon = Farmed Salmon
Boycott Campaign Against Farmed Salmon in Ireland

Visit: GoFund Me Campaign

This is an awareness campaign targeted at members of the public and supermarket consumers who may not be informed about the truth behind the salmon they buy from supermarket shelves.

The salmon farm industry is a dirty, greedy and environmentally damaging industry to Irish sea trout, salmon populations, shell fish and consumers health. The chemicals used in salmon farming are dangerous and harmful to human health. 

99% of salmon stocked on super market shelves are actually sourced from salmon farms and hide behind fancy packaging and misleading labelling used to manipulate customers into buying. They use names such as Organic, Sustainably Sourced, Responsibly Sourced, Fresh Never Frozen, Sourced in Scotland, Ireland, Atlantic Salmon from the Ocean to name but a few etc.

We believe the Irish public are being mislead when buying salmon products on supermarket shelves. We are calling for a complete Boycott on all supermarket salmon products and for the Irish Government to step up to the plate and examine ways of taking salmon farms off the Irish coast. 

We need your Help

1. To start the campaign we need funding to design and print 10,000 full colour double sided information flyers that will issue to supermarket customers outside supermarkets across the country. The more funding we get the more leaflets we can roll out.

2. Contact your local Cllr's and TD's stating you are not happy with Salmon Farms on the coastline and seek their removal.

3. Full contact details of all Cllr's and TD's in Ireland are available here   www.contact.ie 

The Facts

- A 2003 report from the Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that seven out of ten farmed salmon purchased in grocery stores in San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Portland were contaminated with cancer-causing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at “levels that raise health concerns.” Additionally, farmed salmon has been found to contain toxic chemicals methylmercury and dioxins, and farms have been accused of polluting the oceans, fostering disease, and spreading sea lice. Salmon farms have also been criticized for other questionable practices, including the content of the feed, which is often supplemented with chemicals to give the fish their pink color (wild salmon develop it naturally).

- New studies have found that sea lice from salmon farms can cause a 50% reduction in runs of Wild Atlantic Salmon

- Sea Lice from salmon farming have long been implicated in the collapse of sea trout stocks along the west coast of Ireland. 

- Dr Paddy Gargan commented that increased mortality of wild salmon due to the impact of sea lice from salmon farming can result in salmon stocks not reaching spawning targets or not being at favourable conservation status as required under the EU Habitats Directive. It is critical therefore that sea lice levels are maintained at a very low level on farmed salmon in spring and where this has not been achieved that farmed fish are harvested before the wild salmon smolt migration period.

- Young sea trout are forced to run the gauntlet of open-net salmon farms, where sea lice incubated in vast, unnatural numbers on farmed fish latch on to and kill wild fish.

Visit: GoFund Me Campaign
Find Us Here: www.salmonfarmsireland.com

Salmon Farm Sites on the Irish Coast

Cork/Kerry Salmon Farm Locations

Galway Salmon Farm Locations

Mayo/Galway Salmon Farm Locations

Donegal Area Salmon Farm Locations

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Irish Examiner: Appeals board delays decision on salmon farm go-ahead

Source: https://www.irishexaminer.com/breakingnews/ireland/appeals-board-delays-decision-on-salmon-farm-go-ahead-866508.html

A decision on whether to allow a huge new salmon farming operation in Bantry Bay may not now be made until next summer. The Aquaculture Licences Appeals Board (ALAB) was due to make a decision on the application by this October, having signalled last December that it would request a string of new reviews in relation to the proposed development off Shot Head, including a new environmental impact statement on the risk of sea lice infestation and assessments regarding any potential impact on the otter, seal, and wild bird population in the area near Bantry.

However, in a letter issued to those opposing the salmon farm, and Marine Harvest, the company which applied for the development, ALAB said it could be June 30, 2019, before a decision is reached. The case involves an appeal lodged with ALAB following the granting by the Minister for Agriculture, Food, and the Marine of aquaculture and foreshore licences to Braden Farad Teo, trading as Marine Harvest of Fanad, Co Donegal.

An oral hearing last year was halted over a technical issue and in April this year ALAB sought submissions from the various parties and has now revised the timeframe for its decision.
In the letter, ALAB said: “It is the intention of the Board that the Appeal will be determined by it as soon as practicable and by no later than June 30, 2019.”

Alec O’Donovan of the Save Bantry Bay group said opposition to the plan is still as strong as ever and that it was a “complicated” matter that needed time.

A spokesperson for Marine Harvest said: “While respecting ALAB’s mandate and independence, Marine Harvest Ireland wishes to place on record its disappointment that a final decision still hasn’t been reached on an application which the company originally applied for to the Department of Agriculture in 2011.

“Seven years later, we are told that the decision won’t be taken until the middle of next year at the earliest. It sends out a very negative message to the Irish aquaculture sector and doesn’t provide any of the certainty which is necessary for those seeking to invest and create employment in the industry.”

“Those who end up bearing the brunt of this inaction and suffering most are our workers who don’t have the certainty and security of regular work because we cannot grow enough fish. The spokesperson said the Agriculture Minister, Michael Creed, had been asked to address “the serious bottlenecks in the aquaculture licencing system” in an independent report commissioned by his department and Marine Harvest those recommendations implemented “to break the never-ending cycle of unnecessary delays”.

The spokesperson added that the company has earmarked €22m for investment in Irish sites and the country’s failure to meet aquaculture targets could result in lost income of €1.3bn by 2020 “if no tangible, progressive action is taken by the department”.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Department accused of covering up 20,000 salmon break-out

Another massive salmon farm escape 20,000 salmon this time in Donegal. No one would have known except that Marine Harvest had it in their annual report for 2017 When farmed salmon were found in the Galway and Mayo rivers in Autumn last year. DAFM were asked if there had been any salmon escape off the west coast but they denied there was any escape now it seems Marine Harvest had reported this 20,000 escape last July. 

These salmon farms are totally out of control with massive salmon escapes practically every year. and now it seems DAFM think it's something we shouldn't know about. Why did they deny there was an escape?

Tuesday, 6 March 2018

Protests Against 'Diseased & Dangerous' Scottish Salmon

In May, Scottish Salmon Watch will be organising protests outside the Scottish Parliament when Marine Harvest (2 May) and the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy & Connectivity (16 May) are grilled by the Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee