Download press release as a PDF online here
Scottish Salmon Watch, 17 April 2018
The Scottish Environment Pollution Agency
- SEPA Permits Salmon Farming to Slip Net
In advance of tomorrow's Scottish Parliament inquiry into salmon farming in Scotland, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has been lambasted for failing to stem the tide of pollution from salmon farms. Scottish Salmon Watch highlighted SEPA's abject failure to police the salmon farming industry - including:
- Zero prosecutions for salmon farms in the last decade (none since 2008) compared to at least 23 prosecutions totalling £106,5000 in fines in the previous decade (1998-2008)
- 51 fish farms assessed as "Very Poor", "Poor" or "At Risk" in 2016
- Only 14 (9%) salmon farm inspection visits in 2017 were unannounced (i.e. advance notice was given by SEPA)
- Testing of the seabed by SEPA (2015-2017) reveals that 15% of fish farms (29 out of 188) showed "unacceptable impacts" for Emamectin benzoate contamination and 34% of fish farms (76 out of 224) showed "unacceptable impacts" on invertebrates
- The Scottish Parliament's Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform Committee "is extremely concerned that SEPA may, in the past, or may currently, be permitting the discharge of priority substances and potentially damaging substances"
- Toxic chemical ban on Emamectin benzoate reversed following lobbying by industry despite damning report showing lethality to lobsters
- The use of the toxic chemicals Azamethiphos, Cypermethrin, Deltamethrin and Emamectin benzoate increased 1000% between 2006 and 2016
- Testing between 2006 and 2016 showed 45 lochs contaminated with Emamectin benzoate and Teflubenzuron
- Rubber-stamping of expansion with new 'super-size' salmon farms over 2,5000 tonnes in the pipeline (despite over 858 biomass exceedances between 2002 and 2016)
- SEPA staff joining Marine Harvest as 'Head of Environment & Regulatory Affairs' and 'Applications Manager'
Read more via Media Backgrounder: SEPA's Shame on Salmon Farming
"SEPA should be renamed the Scottish Environment Pollution Agency," said Don Staniford, Director of Scottish Salmon Watch. "Far from protecting Scotland's pristine environment, SEPA has permitted salmon farms to pollute with impunity. SEPA's lack of a prosecution a single salmon farm over the last decade smacks of giving this toxic industry immunity from prosecution. Shame on SEPA for cravenly kowtowing to the industry like a lapdog rather than acting as a environmental watchdog. It's no wonder that SEPA staff are now lapping it up by working for Scotland's #1 salmon farming polluter in the shape of Marine Harvest."
The Scottish Parliament's Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee (RECC) will take evidence tomorrow (18 April 2018) from SEPA, Highland Council, the Crown Estate and Scottish Natural Heritage.
Watch live on Scottish Parliament TV online here
Documents disclosed last week by the Scottish Parliament to Scottish Salmon Watch via FOI reveal that the RECC have proposed a visit to a salmon farm for "a frank discussion about the challenges of dealing with sea lice and other fish health issues" (believed to be on Monday 30 April 2018). In October 2017, the Convenor of the RECC (Edward Mountain MSP) met with Scottish Salmon's Chief Executive Scott Landsburgh and Chairman Gilpin Bradley in the Scottish Parliament in advance of the salmon farming inquiry (other documents point to a meeting in late November 2017 with the Managing Director of Marine Harvest, Ben Hadfield) .
The FOI documents disclosed by the Scottish Parliament also include data shared by Marine Harvest with the RECC detailing disease and mortality problems at salmon farms in Loch Duich, Loch Erisort, North Harris and Loch Greshornish - with 769 tonnes of dead farmed salmon already reported in the first 10 weeks of 2018. Marine Harvest's salmon farm in Loch Duich was described in March 2018 by Julie Edgar, Head of News & PR at Scottish Salmon, as a "challenging site to manage sea lice, sealice infection and treatment ongoing, history of gill health challenges". Loch Greshornish (scene of a mass mortality due to a failed Thermolicer treatment) was described as suffering from "complex gill health and severe anemia leading to mortality in February" .
Marine Harvest is scheduled to appear in front of the RECC on 2 May 2018 - here's the timetable for the RECC's inquiry into salmon farming:
Scottish Salmon Watch's written submisson to the Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee is available online via Hard Evidence: Dossier of Data on Lice, Diseases & Mortalities at Scottish Salmon Farms.
Download press release as a PDF online here
More details via: Media Backgrounder SEPA's Shame on Salmon Farming (April 2018)
Read a FOI reply from the Scottish Parliament dated 11 April 2018 online here
Read a FOI reply from SEPA dated 12 March 2018 online here
Read a FOI reply from SEPA dated 23 February 2018 online here
For background on the Scottish Parliament's inquiry into salmon farming please read: