The effects of industrial fish farming is an issue we have been working on for many years. So, we were pleased to see that last night Panorama brought the devastating impacts of salmon farming, both in terms of animal welfare and the environment, to the public’s attention.
Underwater factory farms
The program explored the problems surrounding the £1 billion industry producing one of the UK's biggest food exports and one of the country's favourite fish. It revealed that:
- Scottish salmon farming mortalities are around 20% (around 9.5 million fish die before slaughter per year)
- Sea lice infestations are a major contributor to fish mortalities. Lice used to treat infestations not only affect farmed fish but also the surrounding wild salmon populations
- The chemicals used in salmon farming damage the marine environment
- Despite clear warning of the environmental impacts of Scottish salmon farming the industry plans to double in size by 2030
- The stocking densities of these underwater factory farms are higher than standards allow, as is the amount of chemicals used to maintain them
Unregulated fish farming on an unsustainable scale
The program exposed standards of some of the industry’s leading companies and revealed several breaches.
Dr Krzysztof Wojtas, our Head of Fish Policy, said: “Panorama has highlighted the need for better regulation in this industry. Salmon is a migratory species and should not be kept in intensive systems with high stocking densities.
"It is great that the BBC has exposed the major environmental and welfare impacts of an industry which is trying to expand beyond its limits. We are calling for complete moratorium on salmon farming in Scotland and urging politicians to scale the industry down."
It’s time to Rethink Fish
Major change is needed to improve fish farming standards. Find out more about our Rethink Fish Campaign here.