Are salmon farmers damaging Scottish lochs with their chemicals?

  • by
Fish farm in Loch Ainort © Richard Dorrel
Fish farm in Loch Ainort © Richard Dorrel

The question is whether big business salmon farmers with high levels of production in the Scottish lochs are damaging the marine environment by using too many chemicals or quantities of chemicals higher than permitted to try and keep their salmon healthy, free of disease and sea lice.

There is a question mark about it because an unannounced inspection by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency tells us that there are concerns with the Scottish government as to whether they are abusing their position. The world’s biggest salmon-farming company is Mowi (60k tons annually) and they insist that they report accurately on the use of medications and they argue that they use them sparingly. They’re confident in what they’re doing but there has been criticism of the salmon-farming regulations and concerns that abuses are taking place.

Scottish Environment Protection Agency say they made an unannounced visit but Mowi say the opposite. They argue that it was announced and that there were simply supporting the agency in its audit.

Each salmon farm operating out of Scotland’s waters has a licence which restricts the amount of chemicals that they can use because too much harm the environment and kills creatures on the seabed, said a spokesperson for the agency.

The use of chemicals, either airborne, or in waters or as, for example rat poison, are prevalent across the globe. They all tend to poison the planet and the wildlife that lives on it. A classic example is taking place in Cape Town, South Africa. I wrote about this recently. Caracals, a medium-sized athletic wildcat living on the African continent, is being poisoned by rat poison. The poison kills rats slowly which allows them to be attacked by predators such as the caracal whereupon it kills the caracal as well. It is also transmitted from mother cat to her offspring in her milk. I am mentioning this because it is another example of the way humans damage the environment and makes our relationship with wildlife almost untenable sometimes.