Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Undercurrent News: Irish campaign calls on gov’t to close Galway salmon farms

The campaign group Galway Bay Against Salmon Cages (GBASC) has called on the Irish government's department of agriculture, food and the marine (DAFM) to take action against what it describes as "out of control" lice levels in salmon and trout farms on Ireland's west coast, from Donegal to Connemara.
The group has demanded that any salmon farms unable to keep lice below certain levels should have their licenses revoked by DAFM.
The group's demand follows the recent update from DAFM to the country's department of communications, climate action and environment on the action being taken to resolve the lice situation.
GBASC has also questioned the effectiveness of the desalination plants installed by Bord Iascaigh Mhara, Ireland's seafood development agency, claiming the new strategy "has not worked."
"GBASC has no doubt IFA Aquaculture and the salmon farming industry will blame any loss of revenue on the lack of new licenses, as they did in their recent press release to the media to justify the drop in production of farmed salmon by 39% in 2018," the campaigners state. "The drop in production was more than likely caused by incompetent farming practices leading to sea lice infestations, disease, and stress-related deaths as a result of treatment procedures for sea lice and amoebic gill disease."

Sunday, 7 April 2019

Scottish salmon firm drops ‘Sustainable’ branding


A leading Scottish salmon farming company has stopped branding its business as “sustainable”, according to the UK advertising watchdog. 

 Loch Duart, which farms fish in Sutherland and the Outer Hebrides, used to market itself as “the sustainable salmon company”. 

But it has told the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) that it is no longer using the label. Campaigners are now calling on other fish farming firms and public agencies to abandon claims of sustainability for the industry. Pollution, toxic chemicals and the risks to wild fish make fish farming “inherently unsustainable”, they say. Claims and counter-claims on sustainability have often characterised environmental conflicts. 

The concept of “sustainable development” was defined in a ground-breaking report for the United Nations by Gro Harlem Brundtland in 1987 called Our Common Future. “Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs,” it said. In the decades since growing numbers of businesses have sought to be seen as sustainable in the hope it would win them more custom. Along with other salmon farming companies, Loch Duart has promoted itself as sustainable. 

The company’s logo on leaflets, signs and packaging said “the sustainable salmon company”. On 5 April its website still highlighted the company’s “sustainable approach” and how it has “sustainability at the heart of our business”. In February an anti-fish-farming blogger, Fishy Business, complained to the ASA about an image on Loch Duart’s website describing the company as sustainable. The complaint cited evidence suggesting that this was inaccurate because of the environmental damage caused by salmon farms. In response the ASA said the complaint was “valid” and asked Loch Duart to make changes. 

“The advertiser explained that they had stopped using the term “sustainable” but that this image had not been removed,” said ASA’s complaints executive, Celia Howarth. “They have now provided their assurance they will change this image to ensure the wording is removed.” Because Loch Duart promised to stop claiming to be sustainable, the ASA decided to close the case without launching a formal investigation. Loch Duart was listed by the ASA on 3 April as a complaint that had been “informally resolved”. 

According to the Fishy Business blogger, who requested not to be named, this is the first time that the ASA has examined whether fish farming is sustainable. “This should serve as a shot across the bows of other fish farm firms,” he told The Ferret. “Claiming that their product is something it is not is misleading the public and consumers.” The blogger argued that a high proportion of the food for farmed fish was from finite and depleting resources around the world. “Factor in the massive, almost unbelievable, percentages of mortalities found in Scottish salmon farms and that alone points to an unsustainable practice,” he said. 

“We have a rising volume of hydrogen peroxide use, rising disease outbreaks and increasing spend on sea lice management. None of this can be said to be sustainable in the slightest.” Don Staniford, from Scottish Salmon Watch, described sustainable salmon farming as an oxymoron. “By definition the farming of carnivores such as salmon is inherently unsustainable,” he said. “Sustainable is a foreign country to any industry which drains our global oceans of wild fish, pollutes the sea floor, is dependent upon toxic chemicals and which discharges untreated sewage effluent.” 

 The wild fish group, Salmon and Trout Conservation Scotland, pointed out that Holyrood’s rural economy committee had recently concluded that “urgent and meaningful action” was needed to address “regulatory deficiencies as well as fish health and environmental issues” in Scottish salmon farming. “It is hardly surprising that the ASA has decided that Loch Duart’s claims to be sustainable needed addressing,” said the conservation group’s solicitor, Guy Linley-Adams. 

“The truth is that salmon farming in open cages is high-chemical input, high-waste output, intensive factory farming at sea. The best way to think of these farms is that they are like intensive chicken units, but floating upside down in a sea loch.” 

Loch Duart confirmed that it was dropping the word sustainable from its marketing. “We are aware of the ASA’s informal conclusions on this issue,” said the company’s managing director, Alban Denton. “Our current marketing material doesn’t use the term sustainable although we reserve the right to do so in the future. We are currently in the process of replacing any out of date collateral to reflect our current marketing approach.” 

The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, which represents the industry, stressed the economic benefits of fish farms. “The Scottish salmon farming sector is committed to long-term sustainability – which by definition is a combination of its economic, social and environmental impacts,” said the organisation’s chief executive, Julie Hesketh-Laird. 

 “The sector is working hard all the time to improve our understanding of the impacts and benefits so we can focus investment in the right areas. Scottish Salmon is recognised for its growing economic contribution to Scotland and the UK in terms of company investment, employment and support for community initiatives.” 

 She added: “Scottish farmed salmon is a high quality, healthy food, high in Omega 3 and with one of the lowest carbon impacts of any farmed protein source, recognised as having good fish welfare standards by the UK’s leading welfare experts, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Performance is reported publicly and regularly.”

Monday, 1 April 2019

Artifishal Film Screening

Artifishal is a film about people, rivers, and the fight for the future of wild fish and the environment that supports them. It explores wild salmon’s slide toward extinction, threats posed by fish hatcheries and fish farms, and our continued loss of faith in nature.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019 from 19:00 to 22:00

Patagonia store Dublin
24-26 Exchequer Street
D02 X996 Dublin 2

Saturday, 30 March 2019

Boycott Poster and A5 Leaflet Available Online

You can now download our boycott poster and A5 leaflet from the following locations:

A5 Leaflet >

A3 Poster >

Also available as Downloadable jpg's below

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Land-based farmed salmon goes on sale in UK

SalmonBusiness by Owen Evans25 March 2019

Atlantic Sapphire inks deal with Whole Foods Market to supply its UK stores, with other supermarkets set to follow suit.
The Daily Mail reports that Atlantic Sapphire is selling land-raised salmon in the UK. Amazon-owned Whole Foods has seven stores in London but it is not known if the salmon will be sold on Jeff Bezos’ huge online platform. Atlantic Sapphire’s fish are being sold at GBP 25.9/kilo. To compare, the price of Asda’s sea-farm raised salmon fillets are between GBP 13 – GBP 18/kg and Sainsbury’s from GBP 15 – GBP 23.96/kg. Marks and Spencer’s Loch Muir branded salmon is between GBP 18 to GBP 29/kg. 
Atlantic Sapphire produces salmon at its ‘Bluehouse’ in Denmark and this is the first time it has been sold in Europe outside that country.
Atlantic Sapphire’s Miami facility is targeting 1,000 tonnes in US salmon biomass by the end of 2019, with a view to produce 60 thousand tonnes by 2024-2026. 
On Linkedin, Atlantic Sapphire CEO Johan Andreassen wrote: “In terms of animal welfare we believe fish speak to us by staying alive and grow. Salmon is a species that likes to school together and swim their entire lives if they can. In a Bluehouse we give them that opportunity. All farmed salmon in the world starts their first year of their life in a land-based tank environment. The entire industry is building out on land to keep salmon on land longer because that is safer/less risky for the fish. The mortality rates in a Bluehouse is a fraction of the average in a net pen environment as parasites, algae, viruses and bacteria can more effectively be managed.”

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Meet Bord Bia (Irish Food Board)

Meet Bord Bia (English: Irish Food Board) is an Irish state agency with the aim of promoting sales of Irish food and horticulture both abroad and in Ireland itself. They fully support Salmon Farms on Ireland's coastline because its big big business. 

You can see below how they sing out loud about how great Organic Farmed Salmon is but what they fail to tell you is what chemicals are used in farmed salmon, the salmon farm escapes, the out of control sea lice populations, disease that effect farmed fish, the mortalities and the negative impacts salmon farms have on the environment. 

So the next time you see Bord Bia, remember there's so much more they are not telling you about Irish Organic Salmon. Boycott Farmed Salmon Today!

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 "" 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,
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.