Guy Linley-Adams on behalf of Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland.
‘Wild salmonids in the ‘aquaculture zone’ on the west coast are in trouble. In 2015, the Scottish Government published the latest classification of the country’s salmon rivers’ salmon populations, placing all rivers in the west Highlands and inner Hebrides, including river systems such as the Awe and the Lochy, in the worst-performing category, with wild salmon stocks not reaching their conservation limits (a measure of the overall health of the population). No river within salmon farming’s heartland of the west Highlands and inner Hebrides has, in Scottish Government’s estimation, a sufficient stock of wild salmon to support any exploitation.
Fisheries scientists are increasingly clear that sea lice produced on fish-farms harm wild salmonids, both at an individual and at a population level. Also this year, fisheries scientists from Norway, Scotland (St. Andrew’s University) and Ireland reviewed over 300 scientific publications on the damaging effects of sea lice on sea trout stocks in salmon farming areas, and examined the effect of sea lice on salmon, concluding that sea lice have a potential significant and detrimental effect on marine survival of Atlantic salmon with potentially 12-29% fewer salmon spawning in salmon farming areas.’
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