Scottish salmon farm loses quality mark for illegal chemical use

A Scottish salmon producer, Ardessie Salmon, has been stripped of its mark of quality by being expelled from Scottish Quality Salmon (SQS), the salmon farming industry body, for illegal use of toxic chemicals.

“An independent investigation undertaken by Food Certification (Scotland) Ltd found that a breach of its quality standards had occurred which resulted in the removal of Ardessie Salmon’s Certificate of Approval,” said Scottish Quality Salmon Chairman, Lord Lindsay. “The company is, therefore, no longer eligible to be a member of Scottish Quality Salmon. The decision is effective immediately.”

Allegations of bad practice have been made by two former employees at the fish farm, which were not denied by their employer, and this, SQS told edie, formed the basis of the expulsion.

In testimonies made to Friends of the Earth (FOE), both workers described illegal use of the toxic chemical Deosan Deosect, carried out whilst working for Ardessie Salmon. A cypermethrin-based formulation, Deosan Deosect is described by the Environment Agency as “an endocrine disrupting substance, around 100 times more toxic to some elements of the aquatic environment than organophosphate [sheep] dips”, and is described by the manufacturer as dangerous to fish.

“Scottish Quality Salmon is dedicated to improving the quality and sustainability of salmon farming in Scotland so that our members can continue to compete effectively in UK and European markets under the Tartan Quality Mark and the prestigious French Label Rouge scheme,” Lord Lindsay continued. “Quality is, and must be, our number one priority.”

Lord Lindsay emphasised that persistent work towards quality and sustainability must be the focus for the industry, which is worth more to the Scottish economy than the Highland beef and lamb industries combined.

“Scottish Qality Salmon are to be congratulated for taking this swift and decisive action,” said Kevin Dunion, Director of Friends of the Earth Scotland. “The decision to expel Ardessie Salmon should act as a shot across the bows of all other fish farmers currently flouting the law or considering doing so. The illegal use of toxic chemicals has no place in Scotland’s fish farms. Those using illegal chemicals not only put the environment at risk but also the health of their workers.”

Though allegations of bad practice were upheld by Food Certification (Scotland) Ltd, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency found no evidence of illegal treatments nor breach of discharge consents at Ardessie Salmon.

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