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130,000 signatories back open letter submitted to Scottish Parliament urging a moratorium on Scottish salmon farming

Press Release Section Icon 29/03/2022

Today (29th March), leading animal welfare charity, Compassion in World Farming, submitted an open letter to the Scottish Parliament signed by nearly 130,000 people. The letter calls on the Scottish Government for a moratorium on Scottish salmon farming, until a number of animal welfare concerns have been addressed by the industry.  

Several supportive MSPs attended the hand in of the letter, to show their support including Mark Ruskell MSP,

Scotland is the largest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon in the EU and the third largest worldwide. Approximately 38 million fish were reared in 2019, but these numbers are unsustainable and environmentally damaging. Worryingly, the Scottish government supports plans for massive industry expansion by 2030. But while the industry expands, animals pay the price. 

In 2021, Compassion released the biggest ever exposé into the Scottish salmon industry and subsequent report detailing the grim reality for many fish raised in sea cages to produce world-famous Scottish salmon. The footage exposed terrible conditions at five of Scotland’s largest salmon producers, who account for over 96% of the industry. 

Crowding salmon creates ideal conditions for diseases and parasites to spread. The fish are effectively ‘eaten alive’ by sea lice which feed on their skin, blood and mucus and many are left with large open wounds. Treatments to try and rid salmon of lice are painful too, creating stress and even kill the salmon. These sentient beings  should not be subjected to such awful misery. 

 The Salmon industry is also environmentally damaging. Salmon are carnivorous and their feed contains wild-caught fish, which results in the overfishing of wild populations and intensifies species decline. Waste from farms can lead to poor water quality and harmful algae blooms. In addition, organic and chemical waste from Scottish salmon farms is changing the chemistry of sediments and killing marine like on the seabed. 

“Salmon are silently suffering, out of sight, in cruel underwater factory farms across Scotland,” says Sarah Moyes, Compassion in World Farming’s Senior Campaign Manager “And despite this evidence, the Scottish Government are still not addressing these concerns! We cannot allow this awful suffering to continue. Rather than progressing with plans to expand the industry, a moratorium is needed - now. ”   

Read more about our Rethink Fish campaign.

For further information or to arrange an interview, contact Compassion in World Farming’s Media Team: or call 01483 521 615. 

To request a pdf version of this press release, please email


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