Aquaculture "Major Threat" To Wild Stocks –

Aquaculture “Major Threat” To Wild Stocks Fish Farming Today Published:  02 August, 2002

The aquaculture industry once again faces bad publicity over its effect on wild fish stocks

A NEW government report claims that fish farm escapes constitute a “major threat” to wild salmon stocks, but also says that in other ways the industry has a minimal effect.

The research, undertaken jointly by the Scottish Association of Marine Science and Napier University, looked at many different areas including the effect of waste discharges from farms, the impact of disease and escapes on wild fish stocks and also the sustainability of feed supplies.

By far the most damaging part of the report is that on escapes. The document states that even a very small number of escapes could decimate the wild fish population in Scotland.

The publication of the report comes only weeks after the Atlantic Salmon Trust’s Salmon Symposium took place in Edinburgh, where the aquaculture industry also came under attack for its negative effect on wild fish.

More encouraging for the industry is the fact that other conclusions found in the report are less damning.

Kevin Dunion, chief executive of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “This report confirms long standing concerns that salmon farms are having a major impact on wild salmon stocks through mass escapes from cages and infestation by sea lice.

“Given the fish farming industry’s aspirations for further growth then it is essential that these deficiencies are rectified.”

The findings will be presented to the Scottish Parliament’s Transport and Environment Committee once MSPs return from summer recess.