Scottish Salmon Watch, 2 May 2018
Scottish Parliament Inquiry Grills Salmon Farmers
- Marine Harvest, Scottish Salmon Company & Grieg Seafood in the firing line
The Scottish Parliament's inquiry into salmon farming has Marine Harvest, the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation, the Scottish Salmon Company and Grieg Seafood in the cross-hairs later this morning when industry representatives give oral evidence to the Rural Economy & Connectivity Committee (9am start in Committee Room 2 live on Scottish Parliament TV).
On Monday (30 April), members of the RECC visited a freshly stocked Marine Harvest salmon farm at Gorsten in Loch Linnhe (the latest data available via Scotland's Aquaculture shows that Gorsten reported only 13 tonnes of biomass on site in December 2017):
John Mason MSP Tweeted (30 April):
Fish Update reported (1 May): "A group of MSPs from the Rural Economy and Connectivity committee visited salmon farming operations on the west coast yesterday, as part of an ongoing inquiry into the industry in Scotland. Committee convenor Edward Mountain, Conservative MSP for the Highlands and Islands, was joined by John Mason (SNP, Glasgow Shettleston), Peter Chapman (Con, North East Scotland), Richard Lyle (SNP, Uddingston and Bellshill) and Jamie Greene (Con West Scotland). The committee’s deputy convenor, Gail Ross (SNP, Caithness, Sutherland and Ross), toured a Marine Harvest site in a separate visit last month."
John Mason MSP Tweeted that during the visit to Marine Harvest the members of the RECC enjoyed "very nice salmon for lunch!".
A dossier of damning information circulated today to MSPs reveals stomach-churning facts about Marine Harvest's salmon farms in Scotland - including:
- 134 doses of the toxic organophosphate Azamethiphos during 2017 (with many more instances via well boats)
- 46 doses of the lobster-killing chemical Emamectin benzoate during 2017
- 26 doses of the toxic chemical Deltamethrin during 2017
- 3,333,356 litres of Hydrogen Peroxide used in 2017
- Antibiotic use at 12 sites during 2017 including 206,800 grams of Aquatet (Oxytetracycline hydrochloride) and 314,351 grams of Florocol (Florfenicol)
- 19 salmon farms breaching lice limits in 2016-2017
- 9 sites assessed by SEPA as "Poor" in 2016 with 13 "failing" sites in 2015
- Systematic breaches of Environmental Quality Standards for toxic chemicals in sediments and breaches of SEPA's biomass limits
- Over 3 million mortalities in 2017 (ca. 5,000 tonnes) with over 750,000 mortalities in the first 10 weeks of 2018
- "Complex gill health and severe anaemia" reported in Loch Greshornish during 2018
- Cardiomyopathy Syndrome, Amoebic Gill Disease, Proliferative Gill Disease, Anaemia, Pasturella skyensis and Pancreas Disease reported during 2017
- 65 sites using Acoustic Deterrent Devices which are known to recklessly disturb cetaceans
- 121 seals killed between 2011 and 2017 (2018 data is not yet available)
All Marine Harvest's Scottish operations are certified by the RSPCA and Sainsbury's sources Marine Harvest Scotland's lice-infested farmed salmon.
"If Marine Harvest was being completely honest with their customers they would re-brand themselves as Marine Hazard or Marine Harmfest," said Don Staniford, Director of Scottish Salmon Watch. "Marine Harvest's slaughter of seals at their salmon farms across Scotland is a crime against nature and threatens exports of farmed salmon to the United States. I'd rather eat my own vomit than eat Marine Harvest's RSPCA-certified salmon sold via Sainsbury's."
"Lice infestation and infectious diseases such as Anaemia, Amoebic Gill Disease, Pasturella skyensis and Cardiomyopathy Syndrome are plaguing Marine Harvest's Scottish operations with mass mortalities a symptom of endemic problems," continued Staniford. "The use of toxic chemicals has poisoned lochs around Scotland with Marine Harvest assessed by SEPA as a 'Poor' operator for sites in Loch Hourn, Shuna Sound, Sound of Hellisay, Loch Erisort, Loch Leven, Loch Duich, Creag an Sagairt, Cheese Bay and Loch Sunart."
"Scottish salmon production is a success story in Scotland," claims the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation in their written evidence to the RECC. "The standard of fish husbandry on Scottish farms is very good."
"Mortality levels in Scottish farms have risen since 2011 because of Amoebic Gill Disease", admit the SSPO and accept that "recent large-scale fish mortality events presents very difficult challenges".
"We respect our responsibility to our communities and the environment," claim The Scottish Salmon Company in their written evidence to the RECC. Read an alternative view via "Local community labelled ‘vipers nest’ by salmon company".
Grieg Seafood (who is giving oral evidence to the RECC later this morning) was kicked out of the SSPO back in 2014 "over a serious contravention of an industry code of good practice" (read more via "Industry body expels Shetland salmon producer Hjaltland" and "SSPO expels Grieg Seafood over Norwegian smolts").
Next week (9 May), the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy & Connectivity testifies to the RECC as the final oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament's inquiry into salmon farming.
Don Staniford (07771 541826): firstname.lastname@example.org
Photos: High res images available upon request
Download press release as a PDF online here
Read more via:
- Media Backgrounder: "Marine Harmfest Scotland"
- Press Release: "Scottish Parliament Inquiry Grills Salmon Farmers"
- Press Release: "Freeloading Fish Farms: Tax Polluting Scottish Salmon"
- BBC News: "Scottish salmon farming petition signed by 30,500"
- BBC Radio 4 'You & Yours' on lice-infested Scottish salmon (20 April 2018)
- BBC One Show on Scottish salmon farming (again)
- Botulism Alert for Scottish Farmed Salmon!
- Daily Mail: "We've no idea if we're curbing damage of fish farms, admit watchdogs"
- Press Release: "Deafening Impact of Salmon Farms on Cetaceans"
- Press Release: "The Scottish Environment Pollution Agency"