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Salmon & Trout body calls for end of Scottish open-net salmon farming. Salmon & Trout Conservation (S&TC) has called for the end of all open-net salmon farming as soon as possible because it claims the Scottish Government continues to refuse to regulate the sector effectively.

In the face of continuing Scottish Government failure to introduce effective regulation of the industry, S&TC believes all open-net salmon farming in Scotland must now be brought to an end as soon as possible, says S&TC.

Andrew Graham-Stewart, Director of Salmon and Trout Conservation in Scotland (S&TCS), said:

“We have engaged with successive Scottish Governments and regulators for over 20 years in efforts to persuade them to introduce effective regulation of salmon farming, particularly to protect wild salmon and sea trout from the devastatingly negative impacts of sea lice proliferation.

“The response has been little more than lip-service whilst enabling the industry to expand production exponentially, exacerbating all the environmental problems associated with open-net farming. Scottish Government’s recent announcement of a two-year review of regulation, yet another delaying tactic, and its endorsement of the fundamentally inadequate Salmon Interactions Working Group’s report amount to conclusive confirmation that it has no intention of introducing meaningful reform. We have reached the end of the road.”

In the meantime, the unequivocal recommendations of the comprehensive reports of the Scottish Parliamentary Inquiry into salmon farming in 2018 by the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee and then by the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee, are being ignored.

Guy Linley-Adams, solicitor to S&TCS, commented:

“Despite the overwhelming evidence that open-net salmon farming as practiced in Scotland is unsustainable, it has become ever more apparent that Scottish Ministers are not minded to alter their position from one of almost total support for the industry, whatever it seeks to do.  The time has come to make it clear that open-net farms should be closed down as soon as is practicable. And make no mistake, the reason we feel we must make this call is due to the failure of Scottish Government to act to protect the Scottish aquatic environment and its wildlife.”

Other jurisdictions, for example Washington State, British Columbia and Denmark, now appreciate that open-net salmon farming is unsustainable and are reining in the industry. Argentina, mindful of what has occurred here and elsewhere, has banned open-net salmon farming from its waters.

Read S&TC’s new policy.