More to Awe de­cline than farms, says SSPO

Fish Farmer - - United Kingdom News -

CLAIMS that salmon farms are to blame for the de­cline of wild stocks in one of Scot­land’s rivers are ‘pre­ma­ture and over sim­plis­tic’, the Scot­tish Salmon Pro­duc­ers Or­gan­i­sa­tion said last month.

The 2017 count from the River Awe in the south-west High­lands is pro­jected to be the low­est since records be­gan, said Salmon and Trout Con­ser­va­tion Scot­land - the re­sult, it be­lieves, of ‘in­ten­sive’ fish farm­ing in the area and the spread of sea lice at farms.

MSPs are set to hold an in­quiry into the salmon farm­ing in­dus­try in early 2018. Ahead of the in­quiry, Fergus Ewing, Scot­land’s Min­is­ter for Ru­ral Af­fairs, is plan­ning to hold an aqua­cul­ture de­bate in the Holyrood par­lia­ment.

The SSPO and Scot­land’s salmon com­pa­nies will is­sue for­mal in­vi­ta­tions to MSPs in the com­ing weeks en­cour­ag­ing them to visit farms and see for them­selves what the in­dus­try is do­ing, said SSPO chief ex­ec­u­tive Scott Lands­burgh.

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