The new U.S. rules prohibiting imports of salmon from farms killing marine mammals are making waves around the world. In Scotland, the Government and the Scottish salmon farming industry appear to be suffering from a nasty case of Seal Shock Syndrome.
Mark Ruskell MSP, the environment spokesperson for the Scottish Greens, told The Glasgow Evening News (18 September): "An import ban looms and yet ministers seem blasé about the impact this could have on one of their key food export sectors". The Sunday Herald reported (18 September):
In response to the article above, John Robins of Save Our Seals Fund commented:
Writing in The Sunday Herald (25 September), John Robins commented:
Fergus Ewing is not alone in misinterpreting the new U.S. rules - the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) is under the misguided impression that the killing of seals complies with the Fish and Fish Product Import Provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. The West Highland Free Press reported (16 September 2016):
The SSPO was once again indulging in lethal wishful thinking when they issued this media statement on 9 September:
Roseanna Cunningham, Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, also downplayed the implications of the new U.S. rules in a reply to a Parliamentary Question from Mark Ruskell MSP:
Perhaps the Scottish Government should have read comments from the U.S. Government in The Sunday Herald (11 September)?
The Sunday Herald quoted a U.S. Government official:
Scotland's 'blasé' attitude to an import ban on Scottish salmon was the subject of emails sent last week by John Robins of Save Our Seals Fund to both the U.S. and Scottish Government:
Suffice to say that both the Scottish Government (which sanctions the killing of seals in Scotland by issuing licences) and the Scottish salmon farming industry (which has killed over 750 seals since 2011) should read the U.S. Federal Register's Fish and Fish Product Import Provisions of the Marine Mammal Protection Act published on 16 August 2016; namely:
Note that the U.S. Government has confirmed to GAAIA that zero marine mammals are killed by salmon farms in the United States (Maine & Washington) meaning that the U.S. standard for importing nations is zero:
Read more via "The Two Billion Dollar Salmon Ban"
Canada, where sea lions and seals are routinely killed by the salmon farming and fisheries industry, could be hit hard too. The Department of Fisheries & Oceans told GAAIA (13 September 2016) that "there is a review underway to examine whether Canadian fisheries are in compliance with recently amended US marine mammal legislation".
According to the USDA, the value of U.S. imports of Atlantic salmon in 2015 was over $2 billion - with Chile exporting 284,643 tonnes worth $1.1 billion; Canada exporting 177,550 tonnes worth $504 million; Norway exporting 82,114 tonnes worth $330 million; the U.K. exporting 27,232 tonnes worth $96 million and the Faroe Islands exporting 27,215 tonnes worth $84 million (download data in full via Aquaculture Trade - Recent years and top countries).
GAAIA has now requested information on the killing of marine mammals at salmon farms in Chile, Norway, Ireland, the Faroe Islands, New Zealand and Australia.
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