Lord Steel presents 17,000 signature salmon farming petition to Scottish Parliament; Salmon and Trout Association petition calls for urgent action to protect wild salmon and sea trout from damaging fish farming practices

Lord David Steel, on behalf of the Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA), will tomorrow afternoon (24 June) deliver to the Scottish Parliament’s Petitions Committee an appeal with over 17,000 signatures, calling for concerted action to limit the damage caused by salmon farms to stocks of wild salmon and sea trout in the west Highlands and Islands.

Paul Knight, S&TA Chief Executive Officer, said: “There is absolutely no doubt that the Scottish Government’s record on regulating aquaculture falls far short of its international responsibilities and obligations to protect wild salmon and sea trout. Our petition confirms that there is widespread public concern that the Government should without delay take the necessary remedial action that will enable migratory fish populations in western Scotland to recover”.

Mr Knight added: “We are entirely realistic and appreciate that salmon farming is here to stay. However, as shown in our recent review, evidence of the devastatingly negative impact of salmon farming, as presently operated, on wild migratory fish stocks is unequivocal. It is the Government’s statutory responsibility, and the industry’s moral one, to provide proper protection for two of Scotland’s most valuable and iconic natural resources – wild salmon and sea trout – before it is too late. We will do everything possible to ensure their survival, and to this end we call upon the Scottish Government and the salmon farming industry to respond to this challenge. The time for prevarication is over”.

S&TA recently published a comprehensive review of peer reviewed scientific evidence relating to the impact of salmon fish farms on wild salmon and sea trout.

The full text of the report is available on the S&TA’s website ( Aquaculture - The Salmon & Trout Association ) together with the associated Policy Statement

(summary details are provided at end of the news release). This evidence, which reveals a catastrophic catalogue of malpractice in the way salmon farming is impacting wild salmon, sea trout and the marine environment, was submitted to Marine Science Scotland in March. In particular, S&TA asked for an immediate three point plan to be implemented:

  • drawing up a list of ecologically and economically sensitive sites on the Scottish West Coast and Islands, both those with and without existing aquaculture units.
  • agreement to the premise that no new aquaculture units be permitted on sites identified on the above list, unless agreed with local wild fish interests/national wild fish organisations and operated within totally enclosed systems.
  • agreement in principle to participating in a project to relocate an existing unit identified on the above list, and monitoring the effects on wild salmon and sea trout runs.

Sign the petition and read full text here