Damning pollution figures released for Scottish salmon industry
Seabed pollution at almost two thirds of Scottish salmon farms is either unsatisfactory or borderline, according to a study.
The Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA) study reviewed 311 reports of seabed self-monitoring by farms between 2009 and March 2012. Of these, 44% were deemed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) as "unsatisfactory," 21% were considered "borderline" and only 34% were considered satisfactory.
S&TA Aquaculture Campaign Solicitor and author of the analysis, Guy Linley-Adams said the findings were further evidence that open-cage salmon farming in Scotland was unsustainable.
"The findings support the S&TA's conviction that the way forward over the medium-term is to move to closed containment units, from which all waste can be collected and treated or re-used in the same way as any terrestrial intensive food animal production factory unit would be required to do," he said.
Linley-Adams also claimed the study proved that current legislation did not deter a high level of polluting at salmon farms and that the forthcoming Agricultures and Fisheries Bill needed to "deliver a robust approach."
He explained: "Under the current regulatory regime, it appears that the salmon farming industry is able to breach pollution guidelines with relative impunity. This cannot be allowed to continue."
Wester Ross Fisheries and Loch Duart were the two companies with the highest percentage of unsatisfactory reports. Both companies, who were unavailable for comment, claim to be environmentally responsible on their websites.
S&TA chief executive officer Paul Knight said: "This report makes a mockery of the industry's claims on packaging, websites and elsewhere that it always operates in harmony with the wider environment."