Cooke hatchery linked to Kinglas leak

Salmon producer Cooke Aquaculture Scotland says an apparent leak at one of its hatcheries that led to waste aquafeed spilling into a river has been fixed.

Earlier this week the Daily Record newspaper reported that effluent, including feed pellets, was being discharged into the Kinglas Water, in Argyll and Bute on the west coast of Scotland. It had been spotted and filmed by anti-salmon farming campaigner Don Staniford, and also reported to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

Evidence appeared to indicate that the nearest fish farming establishment was Cooke’s hatchery at Cairndow.

SEPA told Fish Farmer yesterday: “We received a report of potential pollution entering Kinglas Water on Monday 7 August. A SEPA officer inspected the site the same day and has provisionally identified the source.

“Our investigation is ongoing and it would not be appropriate to comment further until this has concluded.”

Cooke released a statement today as follows: “Cooke Aquaculture Scotland received an inspection of the Cairndow hatchery, Argyll, by The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), on 7 August 2023, in which SEPA staff observed fish feed pellets on the bed of the receiving watercourse at Kinglas Water in the vicinity of the authorised discharge point.

“Cooke immediately investigated the possible cause of the incident. The outlet filter screens were checked for damage and replaced as deemed necessary. Upon subsequent operation, it was confirmed there was no feed in the discharge pipe at the receiving watercourse.

“Cooke regrets this incident and the company will continue taking all the responsible steps under the oversight of SEPA to ensure that all environmental standards are adhered to and is following government approved policies for reporting.”

SEPA has advised that members of the public who see any any signs of pollution should report it to the Agency by calling 0800 80 70 60 or using the online form at www.sepa.org.uk/report.

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