Download press release and media backgrounder as a PDF online here
Ten-fold Increase in Toxic Chemical Use in Ten Years!
Exclusive data obtained from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) reveals that the use of toxic chemicals on Scottish salmon farms is now ten times higher than a decade ago. Fifteen years of data (2002-2016) obtained via Freedom of Information (FOI) by the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture (GAAIA) reveals that nearly 4,000 kg of Azamethiphos, Cypermethrin, Deltamethrin, Emamectin benzoate and Teflubenzuron has been used on Scottish farmed salmon in over 8,400 separate chemical treatments since 2002.
Read more via The Sunday Times: "Salmon industry toxins soar by 1000 per cent" (1 January 2017)
The SEPA data (submitted monthly by salmon farmers) also reveals that Scottish salmon's annual 'mort mountain' now stands at a staggering 20,000 tonnes of dead farmed salmon (an estimated 10 million dead farmed salmon per year) with a mortality rate during the seawater phase alone of nearly a quarter. Since 2002 a total of 164,412 tonnes of dead farmed salmon (equivalent to Scotland's salmon farming production in 2013) has occurred on disease-ridden Scottish salmon farms .
According to the data (published monthly via Scotland's Aquaculture but never collated before), the use of the toxic organophosphate Azamethiphos has increased yearly since 2013 and is set to leap to an estimated 400 kg in 2016 (the worst year on record). The use of marine pollutant Emamectin benzoate increased six-fold between 2002 and 2015 whilst the use of Cypermethrin ceased in 2012 (as Deltamethrin took over due to resistance concerns) and the use of Teflubenzuron ceased in 2014 (due to toxicity concerns).
"Scottish salmon farming has lost the chemicals arms race and is fighting a losing battle against chemically resistant sea lice," said Don Staniford of The Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture. "The drugs don't work anymore so farmers are having to use more and more toxic chemicals - including the deadly organophosphate Azamethiphos. Sadly, Scotland's lobsters and other shellfish are collateral damage in the salmon farming industry's war on sea lice. The chemically embalmed salmon farming industry is Scotland's Silent Spring of the Sea. To save Scotland's shellfish and wild fish the public must boycott cheap and nasty toxic Scottish salmon."
The data obtained from SEPA in December 2016 (made available as a 7MB Excel spreadsheet with over 54,000 lines of data entries - download summary online here) reveals that:
- 467 kg of Azamethiphos, Cypermethrin, Deltamethrin, Emamectin benzoate and Teflubenzuron is expected to be used in 2016 compared to 45 kg in 2006 (39 kg was used in 2005 compared to 367 kg in 2015)
- In the last decade (2006-2016), whilst salmon farming production increased only 35% (up from 131,847 tonnes in 2006 to 177,857 tonnes in 2016) the use of toxic chemicals increased a whopping 932%
- Since 2002, a staggering 3,990 kg of Azamethiphos, Cypermethrin, Deltamethrin, Emamectin benzoate and Teflubenzuron has been used on Scottish salmon farms (Azamethiphos accounted for 2,036 kg representing 51%; Teflubenzuron accounting for 920 kg representing 23%; Emamectin benzoate accounting for 792 kg representing 20%; Deltamethrin accounting for 125 kg representing 3%; and Cypermethrin accounting for 118 kg representing 3%)
- Since 2002, Scottish farmed salmon has been subjected to a total of 8,416 separate chemical treatments (with Emamectin benzoate responsible for 3,831; Deltamethrin responsible for 1901; Cypermethrin responsible for 1330; Azamethiphos responsible for 1313 and Teflubenzuron responsible for 41)
- Scottish salmon's 'mort mountain' now stands at a staggering 20,000 tonnes during 2016 (an estimated 10 million dead farmed salmon per year) with a mortality rate during the seawater phase alone of nearly a quarter (24%)
- Since 2002, a total of 164,412 tonnes of dead farmed salmon (equivalent to Scotland's salmon farming production in 2013) has occurred on Scottish salmon farms
- 2016 chemical use is set to be the 3rd worst year on record with only 2012 (513kg) and 2013 (487kg) using more Azamethiphos, Cypermethrin, Deltamethrin, Teflubenzuron and Emamectin benzoate
- Since 2002, Marine Harvest has used the most Azamethiphos (700 kg), Cypermethrin (38 kg), Deltamethrin (63 kg) and Emamectin benzoate (289 kg) and is responsible for the most mortalities (43,802 tonnes) whilst Scottish Sea Farms has used the most Teflubenzuron (334 kg)
- The sites using the most of each toxic chemical in a single treatment are:
Azamethiphos (Marine Harvest: Ardintoul in Loch Alsh in December 2015)
Cypermethrin (The Scottish Salmon Company: Vacasay in Loch Roag in March 2008)
Deltamethrin (Marine Harvest: Sron in Loch Alsh in March 2016)
Emamectin benzoate (Scottish Sea Farms in Vidlin North in Vidlin Voe in December 2011)
Teflubenzuron (Scottish Sea Farms in Teisti Geo in Clift Sound in May 2013)
- The use of the toxic organophosphate Azamethiphos now dwarfs other chemicals (Azamethiphos represented 85% of all the chemicals used in 2016)
- Azamethiphos use has increased from zero in 2005 to 282 kg in 2015 with 2016 predicted to be to worst on record with an estimated 400 kg used
- Emamectin benzoate use increased six-fold between 2002 and 2015 (12 kg in 2002 compared to 71 kg in 2015)
- Deltamethrin use increased from zero in 2007 to 3 kg in 2008 followed by a seven-fold increase to 21 kg in 2012 (estimated use in 2016 is 11 kg)
- Salmon farming companies exceeded SEPA biomass limits 858 times since 2002 racking up 74,284 tonnes of overproduction (Marine Harvest was the biggest culprit accounting for 249 biomass exceedances representing 24,539 tonnes of overproduction closely followed by The Scottish Salmon Company with 245 biomass exceedances representing 17,301 tonnes of overproduction)
- The most mortalities (641 tonnes) occurred at Grieg Seafood's Cole Deep salmon farm in Gon Firth, Shetland, in December 2015 followed by Cooke Aquaculture's Pegal Bay salmon farm (565 tonnes) in Scapa Flow, Orkney, in February 2010.
Download a summary of the data obtained by GAAIA from SEPA via FOI on 9 December 2016 - including graphs and tables - online here (6MB Excel Spreadsheet)
Today (1 January 2017), GAAIA wrote to both OSPAR and the Scottish Government calling for drastic reductions in the use of toxic chemicals on Scottish salmon farms - including an immediate ban on the use of Azamethiphos, Deltamethrin and Emamectin benzoate.
In 2006, the UK Government stopped reporting chemical use to the OSPAR Commission: “OSPAR 2006 agreed that, for the time being, implementation reporting on PARCOM Recommendation 94/6 could cease for all Contracting Parties, but that if there were significant developments in the aquaculture industry in the future, the need for implementation reporting should be revisited”.
In 2012, GAAIA filed a complaint to OSPAR regarding the UK's failure to adhere to PARCOM Recommendation 94/6 on Best Environmental Practice for the Reduction of Inputs of Potentially Toxic Chemicals from Aquaculture Use (read GAAIA's letter to OSPAR online here and letter to SEPA online here).
"Scottish salmon is addicted to a dangerous cocktail of toxic chemicals," concluded Staniford, author of 'Silent Spring of the Sea'. "Toxic salmon should carry a Government health warning rather than being marketed as healthy food. If you make one New Year's resolution for 2017 then give Scottish salmon a very wide berth indeed. Scottish salmon is pharmed and dangerous."
Read more via a Scientific Backgrounder  and Media Backgrounder  online here
Download press release, media backgrounder and scientific backgrounder in full online here
Download data on Hydrogen Peroxide use (2002-2015) online here
Download data on the "Filthy Five" (2002-2016) online here