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January 2007 Edition of Salmon Farm Monitor

9 January 06
FISH FARMERS NAMED AND SHAMED!

The Salmon Farm Protest Group (SFPG) can now reveal the names of the fish farmers who allowed more than 1 million farmed salmon to escape or die in their cages during 2005.

Following the landmark decision by the Scottish Freedom of Information Commissioner (Decision 182/2006) that forced the Scottish Executive's Fisheries Research Services (FRS) to disclose the name of a fish farmer involved in an escape incident in 2006, the SFPG asked the FRS for the names of fish farmers involved in all escapes and fish deaths during 2005.

Heading the list is Norwegian-owned Stolt Sea Farms Ltd who lost 321,000 farmed salmon during the year.127,000 escaped from sea cages at Eilean Dubh in North Uist, whilst 194,000 salmon smolts escaped from their Loch an Eilean Liath site to the south of Stornoway.

Next is North Uist Fisheries Ltd who lost 169,000 fish, including 151,821 smolts from Loch Scadavay, North Uist, when the cages broke up due to severe weather conditions.

Marine Harvest Scotland Ltd come third with a total of 153,874 escaped fish from sites at Loch Seaforth, Gousam, Bay of Vady and Hole Bay. In 2005 Marine Harvest was owned by Dutch multi-national Nutreco. It has since been taken over by Norwegian-owned Pan Fish.

Pan Fish Ltd lost 120,000 fish from their Strome site in Loch Carron. The FRS report, "Cage walkways sank and took the net below waterline allowing the fish to escape during galeforce conditions. Following the initial cage failure, the cage failed again and more fish escaped."

Another Norwegian-owned company, Fjord Seafood Scotland Ltd lost 101,013 salmon from two sites at Linngeam and Greinham Island, whilst 65,000 salmon smolts died in the cages during a storm in South Uist at Loch Moreef, owned by South Side Salmon.

Other losses occurred at sites owned by Scottish Sea Farms (43,453), Murray Seafoods Ltd (22,500). Landcatch Ltd (3,608) and Loch Duart Ltd (3,000).

SFPG chairman Bruce Sandison said, "Farm salmon escapes seriously damage the genetic integrity of our wild fish stocks. Now, for the first time, fish farmers who allow their salmon to escape will have no place to hide. They will be named and shamed. The public will also be able judge for themselves the true value of the Scottish Salmon Producers (SSPO) voluntary 'Code of Good Practice' and what, if anything, the SSPO or the Scottish Executive will do make these fish farmers clean up their act."

For more information about the work of the SFPG see www.salmonfarmmonitor.org

More Info From Salmon Farm Monitor
Farmed salmon escapes from sea cages and mortalities of farmed salmon smolts in freshwater cages in 2005
Stolt Sea Farms Ltd 321,000
North Uist Fisheries Ltd 169,435
Marine Harvest Scotland Ltd 153,874
Pan Fish Scotland Ltd 120,000
Fjord Seafood Scotland Farming Ltd 101,013
South Side Salmon 65,000
Scottish Sea Farms Ltd 43,453
Murray Seafoods Ltd 22,500
Landcatch Ltd 3,608
Loch Duart Ltd 3,000
TOTAL 1,002,883

Worst farm salmon escape from sea cages:
Stolt Sea Farms site at Eilean Dubh on the east side of the Island of North Uist.
127,000 farm salmon escaped when the site broke up and ran aground, allowing the fish to escape.

Worst farm salmon smolt escape from freshwater cages:
Stolt Sea Farms Ltd site at Loch an Eilean Liath, south of Stornoway on the Island of Lewis.

194,000 smolts escaped when the site broke up due to sever weather conditions

Worst mortality in fish farm cages:
South Side Salmon site at Loch Moreef in South Glendale on the Island of South Uist.

65,000 salmon smolts killed when hurricane force winds destroyed cages

11 October 06
The Salmon Farm Protest Group ACTION HOUR
On Saturday 14th October, from 11.00am until 12 noon, Salmon Farm Protest Group supporters will be distributing leaflets outside supermarkets in 50 UK cities and towns, including London, Bognor Regis, Bristol, Abergavenny, Newtonabbey, Edinburgh, Cumbernauld, Aberdeen Perth, Aviemore, Dingwall, Wick and Thurso.

Our message to consumers is: 'GO WILD FOR REAL SALMON - SAY 'NO' TO FARMED FISH. The leaflet lists ten reasons to think twice before buying factory-farmed salmon; including PCB and dioxin levels in both organic and standard farm salmon, untreated fish farm sewage excreted into coastal waters, the damage salmon farming is doing to wild fish.

"You have to ask yourself what is more valuable, cheap fatty salmon or the long-term health of the sea?" Richard Girling, writer and journalist

"The barrage of bad publicity that has engulfed the Scottish aquaculture industry over the last few years has not halted dishonest marketing and publicity campaigns. The Action Hour campaign will, I hope, go some way to redressing the balance in favour of wild salmon, the king of fish, and its natural habitat." Donald Rice, riparian owner

"The impact of salmon farming on the environment and on wild populations of sea trout and salmon is completely unacceptable. This poorly-regulated industry makes huge profits for big foreign companies at the expense of local communities throughout Scotland which rely heavily on revenue from anglers." Mark Lloyd, Anglers Conservation Association

"We no longer sell any form of farmed salmon in our restaurant or bar. We have noticed that most of our guests appreciate the quality and better taste of real salmon and we have never heard anyone complain that it is more expensive. If we cannot source wild salmon we do without." Elaine Lewis, Ben Loyal Hotel, Tongue

"It takes three tonnes of wild fish from the high seas to produce the fishmeal to make one tonne of factory farmed salmon for the supermarket. Do you think that makes sense for our environment? If not, then stop buying the stuff." Jon Gibb, Fishery Manager, Scotland

"It's fluorescent, flabby and full of fat and nasty chemicals, damaging the environment and helping bring wild species to the brink of extinction. Give your taste buds and wild fish a chance - don't eat it." Adrian Latimer, angler and author.

SFPG chairman Bruce Sandison said, "Ask your supermarket for wild Alaskan salmon. It tastes wonderful, has no artificial colourants and comes from a sustainable fishery certified by the Marine Conservation Society, a UK charity dedicated to protecting the marine environment and its wildlife."

18 August 06
Soiled association?
The UK Soil Association, one of the world's most respected food certification bodies, has awarded (16/8/06) full organic status to the factory-farm salmon that it certifies. Scotland director Hugh Raven said, "Organic aquaculture practised to Soil Association standards produces the highest quality fish that money can buy."

Salmon Farm Protest Group chairman Bruce Sandison said: "In my view this is complete nonsense. There is nothing 'natural' about salmon farming. From start to finish the farming of salmon is an artificial process.

The eggs and sperm used to produce farmed salmon are artificially stripped from captive brood-stock salmon. The fertilised eggs are artificially hatched and the progeny artificially reared. They are transported to sea in tubs on the backs of lorries or by boats designed for the purpose, or in containers slung from helicopters.

In the sea their growth rate can be artificially enhanced to such a degree that ordinary factory-farmed farm salmon might reach slaughter weight in less that two years; so-called organic salmon can live longer before slaughter, about two and a half to three years.

At slaughter, farmed fish weigh approximately 5lb/6lb. A wild salmon of the same age weighs only a few ounces and is still living in the river where it was born."

Sandison commented: "It is sad that the Soil Association has allowed itself to be drawn into the fetid waters of salmon farming. The only 'dereliction of duty' I think I see here is that the public might be persuaded that buying Soil Association certified organic factory-farmed salmon, rather than ordinary farm salmon, will somehow mitigate the disastrous impact this dirty business is having upon Scotland environment and its wild salmon."
Issued by Bruce Sandison for Salmon Farm Monitor

18 June 06
2,500 Scottish Jobs Go In Salmon Farming

Figures released by the Scottish Executive on 15th June disclose that 1,500 production and processing jobs have been lost in salmon farming in Scotland since 2002 following the dominance of the industry by foreign-owned companies.

SFPG chairman Bruce Sandison wrote to First Minister Jack McConnell in May asking if the Scottish Executive (SE) had adjusted its assessment of job numbers supported by the industry in line with recent failures and amalgamations of farms in the West Highlands and Islands.

Responding on behalf of Jack McConnell, Paul Haddon of the SE's Marine Group said, "In 2001-02 it was estimated that there were about 10,000 jobs in Scotland generated by the production & processing of salmon. The latest figures currently available are for 2004 when it was estimated that the equivalent figure was about 8,500 jobs."

Since 2004, two fish processing plants have closed and fish farms and smolt-rearing facilities have also closed in Wester Ross, Inverness-shire, Shetland and the Western Isles. Scotland's largest operators, Marine Harvest and Stolt, have amalgamated and, since then, have been acquired by Norwegian multi-national, Pan Fish.

Pan Fish has a controlling interest in Fjord Salmon, another Norwegian company that operates in Scotland, and the new group will give Pan Fish 65% of Scottish farm production; providing the UK office of fair trading approves the deal. The Pan Fish deal is being vigorously supported by the Scottish Executive.

SFPG chairman Bruce Sandison said: "We estimate that 500 jobs have been lost since 2004 because of closures. If the Pan Fish deal goes through, another 500 jobs could go. If so, this would bring the total number of jobs shed in the past four years to around 2,500. During that time the industry has received millions of tax-payer funds, the result of which has been to destabilise rural communities and inflict hardship on those who have lost their jobs."

Meanwhile, UK imports of Norwegian farm salmon are increasing. So far this year 15,000 tons have been received compared to 9,000 tons last year. Bruce Sandison commented, "I believe that the support given to Norwegian fish farmers by the Scottish Executive, both financially and morally, is disgraceful. The Executive has sold the right of future generations of Scots to enjoy a clean coastal and freshwater environment simply to satisfy the whims of foreign investors."

27 May 06
The Farm Salmon Scam -
UK-wide Action Hour planned for October 2006
The Salmon Farm Protest Group (SFPG) has announced plans to hold a UK-wide 'Action Hour' outside the nation's supermarkets on 14th October. From 11.00 am to 12 noon. SFPG supporters will distribute leaflets to shoppers highlighting the damage that fish farms have done and are doing do to wild salmon and sea-trout, and to the natural environment.

Supporters are being asked to register their interest in participating in the event by emailing SFPG chairman Bruce Sandison at bruce@hysbackie.freeserve.co.uk saying which supermarket they will visit.

Bruce Sandison said, "We want to draw people's attention to the hidden costs of buying cheap salmon from fish farms: pollution of coastal and freshwater lochs; wild fish that have survived for thousands of years being driven to the point of extinction by fish farm sea lice; the toxic chemicals used to treat diseases that plague fish-packed cages; the significance of levels of PCBs and dioxins found in farm fish; the dominance of multi-national foreign-owned companies that has led to hundreds of job losses in remote, fragile rural communities."

The SFPG mounted a similar event in October 2002 when supporters spoke to shoppers in front of supermarkets in more than 100 cities and towns throughout the UK. Sandison continued, "We are calling for even greater support this time round. The only way to get the factory salmon farmers to clean up their act is to persuade consumers to think twice before buying their fish."

Similar events are being planned during the week 7th/14th October around the world, including USA, Canada, Chile and Europe themed on an international slogan, 'The Farm Salmon Scam'.

Note
Bruce Sandison is well known writer who has written several books and articles on angling who lives in the north of Scotland.
For information about the work of the SFPG see www.salmonfarmmonitor.org