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  1. #1
    Fish&Fly
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    Fish farm failures collapse co-operation agreement with wild salmon supporters

    Collapse of co-operation agreement between wild fish interests and fish farmers in salmon farming’s heartland blamed on the aquaculture companies’ failure to honour commitments.

    The decision by wild fish interests in Argyll to formally withdraw their support from a co-operation agreement with local fish farming companies has prompted the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) to question the viability of the Scottish Government’s flagship policy of fostering local dialogue and agreements to resolve differences between wild fish interests and the aquaculture industry in the west Highlands and Islands. The collapse of the Lower Lorn Area Management Agreement is blamed on the serial failure of one side to the agreement to honour its commitments.

    Andrew Wallace, Managing Director of ASFB, commented: “Much time, money and effort have been invested in area management agreements (AMAs) over many years but in Lower Lorn the spotlight has now been put on the fragility of these agreements in no uncertain terms. After repeated abuses of the Lower Lorn Agreement by the salmon farming companies, wild fisheries bodies have had no other option but to withdraw”.

    Mr Wallace continued: “It had been hoped that the issue of impacts on wild fish by salmon aquaculture could have been resolved and worked through by negotiation. In some situations some progress has been made. However, the general intransigence by parts of the Scottish salmon farming industry, the failure of some companies to abide by conditions set out in AMAs and the industry's failure to give even the slightest credence to the widely understood view that industrial scale fish farming can and does, in certain places, impact migratory fisheries, is starting to seriously undermine this whole approach to managing salmon farm impacts”.

    Roger Brook, Chairman of the Argyll District Salmon Fishery Board, said: “The demise of the Lower Lorn AMA has been caused by the repeated failure of the fish farmers to honour the agreement particularly when it is commercially inconvenient. I believe that wild fish signatories to the AMA were entirely justified in saying ‘enough is enough’. If any one party is only paying lip-service to what they have signed up to, then clearly it is futile to continue”.

    Confidentiality clauses in the Lower Lorn AMA preclude wild fish interests from publishing details of breaches of the agreement. Signatories to the agreement on the aquaculture side were the fish farming companies Pan Fish Scotland, Lakeland Marine Farms and Kames Fish Farming.

    Issued on behalf of the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB)

    Notes:

    • The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) represents the interests of its members- Scotland’s 42 District Salmon Fishery Boards. The Boards are local, catchment-based fisheries management organisations, with statutory powers under the Salmon and Freshwater Fisheries (Consolidation) (Scotland) Act 2003. The Boards are charged with managing and protecting salmon and sea trout stocks and fisheries.
    • Through voluntary Area Management Agreements (AMAs) fish farming and wild fisheries interests are encouraged to work together to resolve local issues that may have a major impact on the health and survival of wild and farmed fish, including the adoption of best management practices. This approach to the management of wild and farmed fish stocks has been promoted through the Tripartite Working Group (TWG), which consists of representatives from the aquaculture industry, the wild fisheries sector and the Government. The TWG was formed in 1999 by the then Scottish Executive against the backdrop of declining stocks of sea trout and salmon off the west coast of Scotland. Its remit was and is to foster local co-operative efforts between wild salmon and sea trout fisheries and salmon farming companies through AMAs monitored by Area Management Groups (AMGs), promoting the recovery of wild stocks while maintaining a sustainable aquaculture industry. AMAs generally include provision for synchronised production and fallowing of local marine fish farms with synchronous sea lice treatments scheduled so that adult female sea lice are essentially eliminated from farmed fish between February and June – the critical time for the wild salmon and sea trout smolts migrating to sea.
    • Formed in 2006, the Lower Lorn AMA encompassed some 75 miles of coastline including the sea lochs Crinan, Craignish, Melfort and Feochan as well as all the significant freshwater systems (notably the Nell, Feochan, Euchar, Oude and Add rivers) flowing into this area. The aims of the AMA were the promotion and implementation of measures for the maintenance of healthy stocks of both wild and farmed fish in the area and the restoration of wild salmon and sea trout stocks and provision for synchronised production and fallowing of the area’s marine fish farms within the management area by 2008. Synchronous sea lice treatments began in 2005 with a target of zero adult female sea lice per farmed fish between February and June- the critical time for the wild smolts migrating to sea; at other times the farms were required to “aspire to” the lowest possible sea lice levels.
    • The wild fish interests in the Lower Lorn AMG consisted of the Argyll DSFB, The Argyll Fisheries Trust, the Nell and Feochan River Improvement Association and the Add River Improvement Association.

  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    If agreements between the commercial fish farmers and the Wild Salmon supporters are no longer valid - then presumably the confidentiality clauses no longer apply ?

    Therefore we should be told what the fish farms have been up to ???? (if anyone tells me that somehow the confidentiality clauses are still valid - I am going to boggle at the mentality of the Wild Salmon group that actually signed such a document !!!!!)

    Nigel

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