Extend the Review to consider the impacts of Fish farming and predation on Salmon Fishery management

One area that many people consider is a critical omisssion in the Wild Fisheries Review is the impact of open cage salmon farming on migratory routes perticularly in the West Coast of Scotland. Evidence abounds on the environmental damage that is being caused by these operations including the significant impact of sea lice on salmon and sea trout smolts.

There is also a major problem with predation in rivers by fish eating birds some of which are non native species but still are protected. The current arrangements for controls pay lip service the problem and fishery managers agree that the effect of this predation on juvenile fish is increasingly 'significant'.

Similarly controls on seal numbers pays lip service to the problem and the effect on salmon fisheries management.


Why the contribution is important

No review of wild fishery management can be complete without proper cognisance of these additional threats to wild salmon survival.

by devronmac on July 23, 2015 at 09:40PM

Current Rating

Average score : 4.7
Based on : 20 votes


  • Posted by roxborough July 23, 2015 at 21:46

    definitely agree with the salmon farming comments, any tagging should take into account salmon killed by sealice proliferation roxborough
  • Posted by Utectok July 23, 2015 at 22:32

    No Brainer
  • Posted by Pooroldcol July 23, 2015 at 22:38

    Predation by seals is much more important to salmon stocks than presently considered. The Pentland Firth is an ambush alley for all East coast bound shoals. Present numbers in excess of 50,000 seals living in the firth. Maybe we could forget all this legislation by simply controlling seal numbers. We control deer numbers to suit the land so why not seals.
  • Posted by bradan July 24, 2015 at 07:08

    Pooroldcol - agree absolutely. And while we're at it can we add cormorants living inland. Their ability to clear out a river of fish up to 2lb has a significant impact.
  • Posted by ms July 24, 2015 at 09:09

    Ask any salmon fisher, this is a no-brainer, since the introduction of open cage salmon farming the wild population particularly on the West coast have suffer significant decline. Escapees breeding with local salmon, farm use of delicing chemicals, sea lice barriers to our migrating smolts, sea floor destruction to name a few. Another topic that needs addressing is the control of predators. I believe there is a place in nature for everything, however the balance has been lost here, it would help immensely if it were re-established.
  • Posted by par2164 July 24, 2015 at 09:35

    While I agree completely, this forum is for discussion relating to the kill licence which is separate from the Wild Salmon Fisheries Review.
    I think they have separated the issue so they can push it through, I am not at all happy with the way the SG are conducting themselves on this matter.
    It is also clear that aquaculture has been excluded from the WSFR on purpose. The SG have no intention of reviewing aquaculture as it brings in too much money. This stinks of hypocrisy given that the review is about conservation.
  • Posted by sjrobinson July 24, 2015 at 11:38

    Agree 100%
  • Posted by scaredforsalmon July 24, 2015 at 11:45

    The government says that aquaculture brings 7,000 jobs to Scotland, what they don't say is that the deal with China is the thing that brings them money. However the people who work in the processing plants are on minimum wage for the most part, their income does not spread far around the community. They do not stay in the hotels & B&B's or pay for ghillies, drink, fuel, car hire, cafe's, restaurants, etc as a sporting visitor would. If the wild salmon were properly protected then sporting visitors would increase and the people working for a pittance could then at least get a cleaner job working to support the sporting tourism industry. Those people owning the tourism industries could have properly run businesses that would then be of value to the wider tourism community and not be open part time and trying to hold down other jobs too to make ends meet.
  • Posted by Scott July 24, 2015 at 11:49

    Commercial salmon farming has clearly had an effect on wild salmon and sea trout stocks and health. Several case studies are available online which point to this.
    I agree 100% that this must be taken into consideration for any future proposals to have a chance.
  • Posted by MacRob July 24, 2015 at 11:51

    Kill licences are tools that can be considered once a review of the whole problem has been considered. (If indeed there is a problem)
    A review which does not consider Fish Farming and Predation is incomplete and should not be used as a basis for decisions.
    A decision on whether to implement kill licences should therefore be postponed until the Review has been completed properly.
    Anything else is bad governance.
  • Posted by Tweedsider July 24, 2015 at 11:55

    This past May I have counted up to 60 goosanders in a flock on a lower Tweed beat. These birds appear to circle a shoal of smolts driving them into a denser mass before diving and killing them. For arguments sake let us say that the Tweed population of avian predators is 100 (it will be much more but 100 is an easy number to count from). Each of these birds needs 5 juvenile trout or salmon per day, thats 500. Seven days a week that's 3,500. Fifty two weeks a year that's 182,000. Now take into account seals which will not be feeding exclusively on salmon but in general the whole North Sea population is considered to account for more cod than the commercial fleet. Over the past 15 years or so breeding colonies of seals have established along the Berwickshire coast on the rocky beaches of this coastline. A reliable count by a qualified biologist in recent years turned up over 2000 seals in this part of the world. Now prior to the Wildlife and countryside act of the 1980s Tweed supported umpteen salmon fisheries along the Berwickshire and Northumberland coastlines, in the Tweed estuary and as far as 10miles upriver. Now only one fishery operates in the estuary, and few if any on the coastline and one up river is purely for tagging in the interest of research. Prior to the above Act goosanders were unknown on Tweed and THE avian predator was cormorant with a price on its head. Seal colonys were restricted to the Farne Islands where a regulated cull kept the numbers in check. If SG are to have anymerit in their proposals for salmon fishing they must implement a meaningful programme of predator control.
  • Posted by ms July 24, 2015 at 12:56

    Living on the North West coast I see a lot of the farms in operation, I struggle to understand where 7,000 jobs are. The SG does earn considerable revenue from this industry.
    I have to point out that the VAST amount of the income generated is destined for Norway as we are proxy producers after the Chinese turned away from the Norway over the Nobel Prize to a Chinese dissident.
  • Posted by scaredforsalmon July 24, 2015 at 13:33

    Agree ms as with many things in this issue, what we are told and what is the fact are often not the same thing.
  • Posted by marinescotland3 July 24, 2015 at 16:07

    Thank you for your comments. You will appreciate this forum is focussed around the kill licence proposal although we recognise that you would wish to comment on matters related to the wider reform programme. We will ensure your comments are forwarded to colleagues to consider as appropriate.
  • Posted by devronmac July 24, 2015 at 16:47

     With all due respect to marinescotland3 the Wild fisheries Review is all about management of wild fisheries.The review is incomplete without a proper review of all factors influencing fisheries management. While the licencing system is to be applauded as well as the proposed cessation of mixed stock netting in our coastal waters, other factors which impact significantly on fisheries management must form part of a competent overall review. The fact that this thread and another which I instigated yesterday on a similar vein has attracted so many responses must indicate that this issue requires further consideration at the highest level.
  • Posted by csmith July 25, 2015 at 09:35


    The basic principal of the Kill Licencing proposal is to licence the activity of any individuals and organisations that want to "Kill" wild Atlantic Salmon. Therefore it only makes sense that any activities which have been demonstrated, or could reasonably be assumed under the Precautionary Principle, to result in the killing of wild Atlantic Salmon and having a material impact on the productivity of a river system should require licensing.

    Activities deemed to be having a significant impact on a river's productivity could be proposed by the local FMO and verified by MarineScotland or preferably an independent scientific body. These could include activities such as aquaculture, abstraction and forestry.

    To not include such activities renders the regulation little more than a box ticking exercise in Scot Gov's attempt to fulfil its international obligations with respect to NASCO and avoiding fines from the EU for insufficient fisheries management policy.
  • Posted by garavogue July 25, 2015 at 19:49

    This is the problem with Fishery policy being centralised as the govenment will not ask themselves real questions about problems that have affected rivers which they have helped cause, forestry, hydro, fish farms, it could even be argued that the under ground magnetic field around off shore wind turbines could cause migratory fish problems.

    If they centralise fishery management and then they can ignore what would have been the voices of the local river boards and trusts with the new FMO's having to tow the party line.
  • Posted by mmb051 July 26, 2015 at 15:56

    Is it any wonder anglers are cynical on the Review - to hold such without considering the impact of fish farming is deceiptful.
  • Posted by CommonSense July 27, 2015 at 08:09

    It is heart-breaking to see the response from Marine Scotland.
    Kill Licences should be the last item on the agenda, not the first.
    Putting the cart before the horse is a crass attempt to deflect attention from the areas which should be the main focus.
  • Posted by scaredforsalmon July 27, 2015 at 10:36

    Until the whole environment for salmon success is considered anything put into place as a control or design for the future is a waste of time energy and money.
  • Posted by DavidR July 27, 2015 at 10:48

    Could not agree more with the genral tone of the comments.

    The response of Marinescotland3 highlkights the ineptitude of the Scottish Office and Politics behind this proposal. The review of farmed salmon is not a separate issue to be dealt with separately, it is at the core of the issue.

    Rather than picking on anglers and angling the matter needs to be looked at as a whole rather than picking off those parts that they think are easier to force through, rather than taken on the lobbying from Farm salmon interests with deep pockets The fish farming industry continues to do untold damage to our wild fisheries stocks and yet the government and Scottish office do nothing about it in enforcing stricter regulation and relocation of salmon farms away from river estuaries.
  • Posted by DavidR July 27, 2015 at 10:54

    And separately to my last post what is the government doing about widening the powers to cull the ever growing numbers of fish eating goosanders and alike, not to mention the nos of seals sitting at river mouth estuaries.

    In conclusion before any policies are introduced on a whim , can we have a comprehensive river management system that covers all these issues.

    The anglers are the least of your problem, only a tiny proportion of fish stocks are actually caught, let alone killed vis a vis all the other more major problems that put pressure on wild salmon (and Sea Trout) stocks.
  • Posted by Euan July 27, 2015 at 13:13

    I totally agree with the last few comments above. I am also disheartened by the response from marinescotland3, but not entirely surprised.
    In my opinion, the WFR in itself was flawed form the outset. Without getting personal, Andrew Thin, as a former head of SNH has a conflict of interests and is probably the main reason that predation is steadfastly refused to be discussed.
  • Posted by tweedfisher July 28, 2015 at 11:56

    Totally agree.I have posted an idea to charge a levy on farmed fish, it might be worth serious consideration by M.S. and S. Gov.
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