By Nick Joy

Fish Farmer - - Contents – Editor’s Welcome - BY NICK JOY

OK, it was me! I ad­mit it.The pro­ducer of the BBC Land­ward doc­u­men­tary,‘Sav­ing our Salmon’, rang me be­fore he re­searched the show. I want to make clear that I did not put him in touch with any­one, but did sug­gest a few peo­ple who would be in­ter­est­ing to talk to. I also gave him a fairly se­vere ear bash­ing about mak­ing just an­other pro­gramme say­ing wild good, farm­ing bad.

The re­sult was not a huge suc­cess for a large num­ber of rea­sons but it did show more bal­ance.Ac­tu­ally get­ting an an­gler to ad­mit on cam­era that an­glers, in my view, did not come out well.

It was also won­der­ful to hear the com­ment that agri­cul­ture has big mor­tal­i­ties, too, but doesn’t get the same trash­ing that we do.

Sadly, the same tired old face was pulled out of the hat for the wild lobby. The good news was that his face is very tired and it wasn’t that great in the

Our side did not come out that well ei­ther, though see­ing our in­dus­try done any harm at all.

I am afraid that we tend to use peo­ple from the big com­pa­nies. In this case, Steve Bracken did the job for Marine Har­vest, which al­ways seems to be the butt of these sorts of pro­grammes.

Steve has held that par­tic­u­lar poi­soned chal­ice for a lot of years and we will all miss him. He came over as rea­soned, rea­son­able and thought­ful.

We did not win the ar­gu­ment be­cause we can­not. Busi­ness is seen these days as in­her­ently bad and cor­rupt and those who sup­pos­edly are de­fend­ing the en­vi­ron­ment as good.

- ing help. So for­give my de­featism in say­ing that we can­not win the ar­gu­ment. How­ever, we don’t have to lose it.We must keep stat­ing our case and in the end logic will win.

No one did an­swer the fun­da­men­tal prob­lem of why salmon have de­clined on the east coast at a very sim­i­lar rate to the west. Nor did they ques­tion that fact that there was a de­cline be­fore salmon farm­ing even ex­isted.

But I do be­lieve that there were some good lessons to learn from this pro­gramme. Firstly, the guys on the pens make very good cases for our in­dus­try. I thought Lewis Ben­nett from Loch Duart came across par­tic­u­larly well and it was a brave move to put him in front of a cam­era.We should do more of this.

was hu­mor­ous and made some telling points, and very clearly was not big busi­ness.

For me, the les­son here is that our in­dus­try af­fects many small busi­nesses and these con­nect more eas­ily with the pub­lic. It is also true that peo­ple tend to be­lieve voices from out­side an in­dus­try rather than those within.

John­ston of Cooke. I know they work on a salmon farm but you could hear the is­lands in their voices.

Fun­nily enough, most of us who have lived in the isles or the west coast know we are pop­u­lar there. It is only in the big towns or among the rich

We need to hear more of those lo­cals speak­ing about the im­pact salmon farm­ing has had on the west coast and the isles for those who live there. These are the peo­ple who con­nect with tele­vi­sion au­di­ences.

The boss or the PR rep­re­sen­ta­tive talk­ing to the jour­nal­ist mostly comes across as bland and makes peo­ple think we have some­thing to hide. So let’s trust the peo­ple around us to do the job.

I am old enough to re­mem­ber the Orkney isles be­fore salmon farm­ing and I was also a very keen an­gler. So I met many ghillies and I have to say al­most to a man they re­garded their in­come from it as se­condary be­cause they could not live on it.

I do not crit­i­cise the pay lev­els but let’s not try to sug­gest that an­gling brought a thriv­ing econ­omy be­fore salmon farm­ing ar­rived. It did not and it does not. It does bring wealthy tourists and it does sup­port the lo­cal tourist trade.

Salmon farm­ing brings sta­ble, long-term, year­round jobs to ar­eas which have lit­tle else. I know that there are plenty of peo­ple who don’t work in salmon farm­ing who know that.

Lastly and most im­por­tantly, the les­son to learn is that the Land­ward au­di­ence was small, like all pro­grammes about salmon farm­ing.We need to keep this in per­spec­tive but we also need to keep think­ing about how

we are seen.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.