Planned expansion of salmon farming could cause ‘irrecoverable damage’ to environments warns a Holyrood Committee report released today, Monday March 5th.
The Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee published a series of concerns about the environmental impacts of salmon farming in Scotland – and will go on to help inform a wider inquiry about the current state of the industry, being carried out by the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee.
Graeme Dey, MSP and Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee Convener, said: “The sector has ambitious expansion targets but the Committee is concerned as to how these can be achieved in an environmentally-sustainable way.
“The sector continues to grow and expand with little meaningful thought given to the impact this will have on the environment. In the Committee’s view, if the current environmental impact issues are not addressed, the expansion will be unsustainable and may cause irrecoverable damage.”
Some of the key findings of the Committee report include the planned expansion of salmon farming over the next 10 to 15 years, which aims to grow the industry by 300,000 to 400,000 tonnes, is unsustainable and may, without changes in approach, cause ‘irrecoverable damage’.
It also found that the salmon farming industry raised the same environmental concerns as in 2002, but the scales and impact have expanded; and the Committee is ‘deeply concerned’ that the growth of the sector is taking place without a full understanding of the environmental impacts.
The Committee is ‘not convinced’ that the sector is being regulated sufficiently and state that this ‘requires urgent attention’; and the report highlights that there are significant gaps in data, monitoring and research around the adverse risks the industry poses.
“The Committee is supportive of aquaculture but expansion must be based on a precautionary approach on resolving environmental problems,” continued Mr Dey. “The status quo, in terms of approach and regulation, is not an option.”
He added: “In raising awareness of the serious environmental concerns, the Committee hopes to helpfully inform the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee’s upcoming wider scrutiny of the salmon industry in Scotland.”