A SCOTTISH salmon farmer has been targeted by an activist who broke into a farm site without permission to take underwater photographs.
The Scottish Salmon Company said it was approached by the Scottish SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) earlier this week with pictures taken by an unnamed photographer, allegedly at one of its sea sites in the Outer Hebrides.
The company’s CEO, Craig Anderson, said there was no evidence that the photographs – apparently shot by a scuba diver equipped with a waterproof GoPro camera – were at a SSC farm, but they welcomed the SPCA to visit anyway and inspect the facilities for themselves.
The organisation did so and the company – which is Friends of the Sea certified and was the first UK salmon producer to be Global GAP certified – said it received a clean bill of health from the SPCA.
But Anderson is concerned about the recklessness of the invasion: ‘It’s a breach of health and safety, and it’s a breach of biosecurity.
‘When people are so angry that they want to put their own lives at risk and put our fish and the biosecurity of our fish at risk, it’s a serious matter. It’s unprofessional, it’s possibly illegal and we’ll look into it further.’
He thinks there have been other cases of this happening in Scotland, although it’s hard to discover where.
‘We’re not allowed to know information, funnily enough – we have to give information but when we ask a question we get no answers.’
Scottish SPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn said: ‘We can confirm we were alerted to a salmon farm on the Isle of Lewis and our enquiries are currently ongoing.’
Activists in Canada have made a habit of illegally invading farm sites and harassing staff – Marine Harvest recently won a court injunction against anti-salmon farm campaigners to protect the welfare of its fish and employees in BC – but in Scotland, protests have been mostly law abiding and usually conducted through the press.