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  1. #1

    Default View from the Farm-propaganda

    I get this to my work email every week.I don't know who subscribed.

    I posted a second one below.I would like some feedback ass to whether I should continue to.post these.Thanks.


    "Farm-free: Angling correspondent Sir Michael Wigan recently wrote in Scottish Field that “Within five years Norway has pledged that its entire salmon farm industry will be transferred to closed containment systems”. I had to reread this statement a couple of times over because this startling revelation was complete news to me.
    However, after a few moments of reflection, it hit home that Sir Michael was not talking about Norway but Canada. I might be more forgiving if Sir Michael’s error occurred in an email but there is no excuse for making such an error in a published glossy magazine. The problem is that there is so much nonsense written about salmon farming, that it will be difficult for the uninformed to separate out what is true and what is not.
    After the initial announcement that the Canadian Liberal Government’s Aquaculture Act aims to transition the salmon farming industry from net pens to closed containment by 2025, the usual salmon farm critics went into overdrive demanding similar policies be introduced in Scotland. At the time, the Canadian announcement was seen as a political decision made to win last-minute votes in the election. The local salmon industry was extremely concerned as they saw that this might be the death knell for salmon production. At the time, The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance said at the time that the Government’s announcement makes two assumptions. The first is that there is scientific evidence that wild salmon are negatively impacted by salmon farms and second that closed containment is a viable technology. CAIA say that both assumptions are erroneous.
    Following the announcement, I also thought of two issues that perhaps the Canadian Government had not fully considered. The first is that in December 2018, the Government had announced that seventeen farms were to be phased out in the Broughton Archipelago to help protect and restore stocks of wild salmon. The intention was to establish a farm free migration corridor to help reduce interactions with salmon farms. The theory was that once the salmon farms were removed, wild salmon would repopulate the local habitat helping restore stocks. Of course, this assumes that salmon farms are the reason why stocks have collapsed. It would appear to be rather pre-emptive for the Government now to say that all farms should be removed by 2025, if it were unknown whether the removal of the farms had successfully brought about a return and restoration of wild salmon stocks or not.
    The North Island Gazette has recently reported that by the time juvenile salmon start to migrate this spring, there will be six fewer farms along the British Columbian coast. The first farms to be removed are those that were closest to the Ahta and Viner Rivers where wild salmon runs are near extinction. The trouble is that campaigners have focused on salmon farms for so long, other reasons why salmon stocks are in decline may have been ignored. Intrafish reported this week that Copper River sockeye catches are forecast to be 25% down this year. As everyone knows, there are no salmon farms in Alaska.
    The second issue relates to closed containment systems. CAIA say that the technology is not viable. There are many who would disagree, but they are not running closed containment technology, whilst those that are will never admit its weaknesses because many are still raising funding. What the Canadian Government policy seems to suggest is that once the net pens are removed, the salmon companies can simply build closed containment as a replacement. What they don’t mention is who will pay for this move? I cannot see any of the salmon farming companies being willing to spend millions on this new technology. They are more likely to seek alternative sea sites even if it means moving out of Canada all together. Even if the technology did work, salmon companies are more likely to establish such units nearer the main markets rather than in isolated communities. I am not sure that the Canadian Government have thought this through. They are at risk of losing both wild and farmed salmon.
    However, now the pressure of the election has receded, common sense appears to have kicked in. Critics and observers like Sir Michael Wigan will be disappointed to learn that salmon will still be farmed in the west coast of Canada in 2025. According to Fish Farming Expert, the Fisheries Minister, Bernadette Jordan has denied that she had been tasked with transitioning the industry away from open net pens. In fact, her task is to prepare a plan for transition, and she has five years to do this. She said that her mandate letter is clear that she has to come up with a plan by 2025 and that is what she will be doing. She added that any decision will be based on science.
    Of course, by 2025, it will be more apparent how much impact salmon farms actually have on wild fish stocks because wild fish will have been able to use farm-free corridors for up to five years. It is now a matter of wait and see.
    After writing this commentary, Undercurrent News reported that a highly anticipated study commissioned over a year ago by the Canadian Government has been previewed by the Fisheries Minister. The study confirms that the move to land-based farms will not meet the low-profile carbon footprint as hoped for by the Trudeau Government. The study states that some of the higher greenhouse emissions could be offset by moving production nearer to the markets. The Minister said that the government had not studied the commercial viability of closed containment systems in Canada between now and 2025, nor the economic and social impact of requiring operators to convert to closed containment systems by 2025. Mel Arnold MP replied by saying the minister’s response confirms that the Trudeau government made a campaign promise without first assessing the viability, nor the economic and social impact of moving to closed containment.
    Of course, this is what happens when politicians rely too heavily on the advice of ill-informed anti-salmon farming campaigners. This should be a lesson for all nations that enjoy the benefits of a salmon farming industry.


    Ted: Staying in North America, we have found a link to a Tedx talk given in Seattle by ‘marine biologist’ Alexandra Morton. Alexandra Morton: What Humans Can Learn from The Wisdom of Salmon | TED Talk I whole-heartedly recommend that anyone connected to salmon, whether wild or farmed, should spend nineteen minutes listening to her talk. Her presentation is called ‘What humans can learn from the wisdom of salmon’.
    Tedx Seattle provide a summary – ‘What can salmon teach us about sustainability? Ms Morton shares startling new research that lets us decode the information stored in a salmon’s immune system. The data reveals where, we’re harming the fish, the ocean and ourselves. – ultimately revealing lessons for how humans can thrive on this planet without destroying it.’
    Having closely watched this Tedx talk, I’m not sure what lessons it reveals about how humans can thrive on this planet without destroying it. I certainly don’t believe that we can learn much about ourselves from studying the immune system of wild salmon. Ms Morton blames the problems affecting wild salmon on salmon farms. Like many critics, the focus is so targeted that they forget there are many influences on natural life of salmon. In her presentation, Ms Morton mentions that when she arrived on the west coast there had been over a hundred years of logging damage. At the same time fishing fleets were growing in size. Yet it was not until salmon farms arrived three years later that she said that the line was crossed. Is it at all possible that salmon were already in a downward spiral due to the combined effect of logging and increased commercial fishing, but it was not noticed until something new came on the scene? This is exactly what happened on the west coast of Scotland with stocks of sea trout in decline for over thirty years, but it wasn’t until salmon farming arrived that anyone noticed. There is still no explanation for the decline of sea trout in Scotland prior to 1980.
    Ms Morton also mentioned her 2007 Science paper. This forecast that pink salmon would be extinct within 4 generations (8 years). It never happened and her reason why was that farmers had improved their sea lice control. Yet after a further two generations, she now claims that the stock has collapsed with just one tenth of one percent of fish returning. Pink salmon have a two-year life cycle so next year could present a totally different picture.
    It is telling that the audience only burst into applause once when Ms Morton said that we need to take action to protect our children. However, it could be that it is our children that are part of the problem. There are simply too many people living on this planet, and it is the impacts of everything that people do that affects the life of the animals that surround us including the life of salmon. Ms Morton’s activities are one of the reasons why the Canadian Government have decided to act on salmon farms. Perhaps, if the Canadian Government were to watch this Tedx talk, they might want to reconsider.

    By Haaf: The Herald newspaper reports that the haaf fisherman of the Solway Firth are battling to keep their heritage alive. Haaf netting is thought to have been brought to Britain by the Vikings around 900AD. Fishermen wade out into the water with nets on large frames, which are lifted out of the water if a fish should swim in. Under current salmon conservation rules, haaf netsmen are no longer able to keep any salmon they catch. This is because the estuary is supplied by several rivers all of which have a differing conservation status. If haaf netsmen do catch a salmon, they have no way of knowing whether it will swim into a grade one, two or three conservation river, so therefore they cannot keep any as it is possible the fish is destined for a category three river where killing is banned.
    Writing in the Sunday Times, historian Neil Oliver laments for the loss of this tradition. He says that he used to live in the area and is well aware of the importance of haaf fishing to the locality. He says that the heritage of haaf netting is now all but lost. He said the last hope was that Marine Scotland might consider an exemption so the tradition of haaf fishing can continue.
    However, as the Herald points out, it was made apparent at a meeting of the Scottish Parliament Environment Committee that Marine Scotland would not change their mind. Claudia Beamish MSP suggested that as haaf netting did not involve hooks, it would kill less fish and thus haaf netsmen would have less impact and therefore should be allowed to keep a small number of fish. Dr John Armstrong told the Committee that he could see the logic of this, He added that anglers typically catch in the order of 10% of fish in the river and of that 10% that anglers catch, 90% were released. He therefore argues that there is little damage from catch and release by anglers. He added that we really don’t want any fish killed in those rivers with a poor conservation status.
    Haaf netter Barry Turner recently told the BBC that it would be an act of vandalism, cultural and historic vandalism if this traditional activity, which is unique to the inner Solway dies. He added we are only 30 people and we only want a small quota so we can continue.
    As yet, the rod catch data for 2019 is not available and will not be for a couple of months. In this modern time, I am at a loss to understand why data is not made available much more quickly. Some of the Fishery Boards post catch data on a daily basis. Catches for the start of the 2020 season have already been posted on some angling websites, yet I have to rely on data from 2018 to make a point. In 2018, 109 salmon and grilse were caught and killed by anglers from the Solway rivers. It seems unfair that anglers should be allowed to take a fish home but those engaging in a tradition dating back many hundreds of years cannot. Even if they kept one fish each, it would only be a third of those caught by anglers. It is worth remembering that although Dr Armstrong suggests that currently there is little damage to salmon stocks from angling, that since 1952, anglers have caught and killed over 5.9 million wild fish. The damage to wild fish stocks has been done over many years.
    I fully sympathise with the haaf netters. After all, if salmon conservation is so important then why not stop the killing of all fish. However, angling seems to take priority over all else. It seems to be even more important than the future of salmon itself.


    For further information visit Home
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    Last edited by johnW; 12-02-2020 at 01:00 PM.

  2. #2
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    Interesting read, it would be nice if Scotland picked a loch which has had the run of wild fish depleted and made the fish farming industry close it down for a period of ten years to see if the wild salmon runs return or improve, but this would only show the farms is the problem

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander gus View Post
    Interesting read, it would be nice if Scotland picked a loch which has had the run of wild fish depleted and made the fish farming industry close it down for a period of ten years to see if the wild salmon runs return or improve, but this would only show the farms is the problem
    I seem to recall that there are one or two systems in Connemara, where fish farms close to the river mouth closed down (went bust, as I recall), which saw an immediate recovery in sea trout numbers. Others may be able to provide more detail.

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    [QUOTE=charlieH;1179829]I seem to recall that there are one or two systems in Connemara, where fish farms close to the river mouth closed down (went bust, as I recall), which saw an immediate recovery in sea trout numbers.

    Who knows, maybe even Pitlochry Lab's Shelton and his counterpart within the IFS had early indications of incipient problems - both making aware their concerns - but, nah. Also read then and now Ron Greer. Sacrificial - via political ideology and cronyism, co Brian Wilson, Harris Tweed saviour and early architect of 'carbon pricing' coming to us soon...

  5. #5

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    latest missive...a bit long winded
    reLAKSation
    By Dr Martin Jaffa

    no 955

    8th February 2020



    River Snizort : The Big Offer


    Snizort: The West Highland Free Press reports that the Skeabost Hotel in North Skye has appointed a new ghillie following the retirement of Derek Dowsett, who managed the Hotel’s Snizort seven miles of river for over 15 years. Mr Derek Doherty takes over as the new season opens on Tuesday 15th February. Mr Doherty told the WHFP that it was such an honour to be appointed as the new ghillie for a river that has such a rich angling history and is arguably one of the best for trout and salmon fishing on Skye. He added that the role is not just about fishing as the hotel has worked over the years to open up the river and celebrate the treasure it has on its doorstep.
    The hotel’s website describes the river as being the most celebrated river on Skye with twelve beats running down to the sea loch estuary. The sea trout and brown trout are game to attack anything from a 22 hook to a full-grown salmon fly and follow salmon all the way up the river and even up the seven-foot jump at the Falls. The hotel website continues that the salmon are up and down the river all year, but the big runs go from the end of June or beginning of July to the end of the season in mid-October.
    Of course, the hotel’s description of the fishing is aimed at attracting anglers to come and stay. The 2019 Fisheries Management Scotland Annual Review includes a report from the now retired Mr Dowsett about the fishing in 2018. The total number of salmon caught was 88, the largest of which was 16lb. The 10-year average is 112. Twenty-nine sea trout were also caught, the largest of which was 4lb. Mr Dowsett, reports that the river has been much drier than usual in recent years which may account for the lower catch but he still says that catches have much improved over the long-term. He says that sea trout continue to be caught in fewer numbers although the 4lb fish is the largest fish caught for some years.
    Finally, Mr Dowsett says that the fish caught showed little evidence of sea louse infestation and all appeared to be well-fed.
    The graph that accompanies his report only covers the period from 2000 onward. Instead, the catches from 1952 are shown as follows:

    Sea trout catches (in red) have declined but they were in decline across the west coast long before salmon farms arrived. As yet, no-one has ever ventured any other reason for the ongoing decline because it is too easy to blame salmon farming despite a lack of any hard evidence.
    Salmon catches (in blue) show an overall increasing trend, which fits in with Mr Dowsett’s comments that the average catch over the past decade exceeds that over previous years. Catches do show a dip during the 1990’s which some attribute to salmon farming activity but is replicated across the whole region. This dip is actually the result of campaigning against the salmon farming industry. At that time, the wild fish sector claimed that salmon farming had wiped out wild fish stocks and consequently anglers avoided the region – why spend good money on fishing the west coast if there are no fish to catch. Eventually, anglers began to realise that salmon had not vanished from the west coast and began to return. In fact, the Snizort is graded as a category 2 river which means that the river has a probability of between 60-80% of meeting its conservation status. Whilst the river authorities may impose catch and release, they are not obliged to. Such is the conservation status of the Snizort that anglers could in theory be allowed to kill the salmon they catch. This is very different to the impression given by Salmon & Trout Conservation in the petition to the Scottish Parliament which led to the REC Committee investigation into the impacts of salmon farming.
    Whilst the River Snizort is now a grade 2 river and the last published reports highlight the lack of sea lice damage, there are in fact two salmon farms in close proximity to the river estuary. There is one farm at the mouth of adjacent Loch Greshornish. The other is Loch Snizort East located near the mouth of the estuary. Both are sited less than 4km away from the river estuary and according to informed wild salmon interests should have decimated local wild fish stocks. Except they haven’t.
    Once anyone digs down into the data, it is clear that the claims made by the wild fish sector about the negative impact of salmon farming don’t stand up to scrutiny. It’s simply easier to blame salmon farming than accept any responsibility themselves. Since 1952, anglers have caught and killed 7,196 salmon and grilse from this short river and its locality as well as 26,704 sea trout.

    Big Offer: Fish Farmer website reported recently about ongoing bilateral discussions between Fisheries Management Scotland (FMS) and the Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO). This is aimed at establishing a fund to help halt the decline in wild stocks.
    However well-intentioned, I would argue that this would be a massive mistake on the part of the salmon farming industry and I sincerely hope that they see sense and withdraw from any such arrangement. It is a fruitless exercise aimed at demonstrating to the Scottish Government that the farmed and wild sectors can work together. There is absolutely no reason why the salmon farming industry and the wild fish sector cannot work together without an exchange of money.
    The idea of the salmon farming industry giving cash to the wild salmon sector is not new. Serious discussions began under the auspices of the Prince of Wales’s sustainability unit and took place at Dumfries House in Ayrshire. The Prince of Wales visited a salmon farm in 2016 as a consequence of the talks.
    At the time, it was suggested that this funding would be seen as ‘Blood Money’ in the form of a reparation for the damage caused to wild stocks by the impact of salmon farming. The problem I have with this is that I have yet to be convinced that salmon farming has that much of an impact on wild fish. Even if it had, it would relate to stocks around the area where salmon farming takes place. This accounts for about 10% of the total Scottish catch. My understanding was that FMS wanted to decide to who the money would be distributed, and this would include east coast rivers. However, whilst catches elsewhere have been in serious decline, the rivers from which these catches were made are nowhere near any salmon farming activity. Why should the salmon farming industry pay money towards the restoration of rivers where they have absolutely no impact?
    I believe that during the course of varying discussions over intervening years, the possible arrangements for funding have been amended several times. The current idea is for a fund to which anyone can apply. The merit of each application is then judged separately. At one time, it has been said that the fund was set at £5 million over a ten-year period but I understand that this was felt to be unacceptable.
    Whatever way this fund would be managed, it would still be a major mistake. This is because giving money to FMS would not stop the constant flow of negative criticism against the salmon farming industry. It might be expected that co-operation with the wild fish sector would reduce the amount of criticism but in fact, it will undoubtedly increase. Already, anti-salmon farming campaigner and self-proclaimed salmon farm expert, Corin Smith has written on his Facebook page that ‘Quango is on the verge of selling out wild salmon in Scotland’. He said FMS would sell out the prospect of increased regulation in favour of money for a small number of fishery boards and this would betray the work of many people who have campaigned against open cage salmon farming. He says that FMS do not represent the wild fish sector. They represent only a small part of it – the salmon fisheries boards. Mr Smith says that FMS do not have the support of anglers, conservationists and local community groups. He adds that it is no wonder that wild salmon are in decline if this is who is meant to be saving them. He tells FMS to get some backbone and see it through or else let someone else take the lead who will!
    I am not the only one to share such concerns. Over a year ago, columnist Nick Joy wrote in Fish Farmer magazine that he had never heard a worse idea than the salmon industry funding the wild fish sector. Whilst a long-time salmon farmer, Nick also sat on the local fisheries trust. He draws attention to the fact that during his tenure, the number of times a national representative visited could be counted on one hand whilst the big hitters never bothered to visit at all. Nick points out that the best collaboration works when only local interests are involved. He also mentions that some local river systems have performed well in terms of wild fish catches yet have salmon farms located within the system. Such examples are never highlighted because they do not support the view that salmon farming is deleterious to wild fish stocks.
    This is something I would raise from my own perspective. It is always a puzzle to me that if the wild fish sector were so concerned about the state of wild stocks, then they might be expected to want to speak to anyone who can offer another view. This is certainly not the case from my experience. I have approached FMS a couple of times asking if I can come and speak to them. I’m still waiting. I have also offered more than once to make a presentation at their national conference. I have yet to appear on any conference programme. Could it be that their reluctance to talk is because my views might damage their attempt to extract money from the salmon farming industry?
    Regular readers will know that I have written a book on the impact of salmon farming on wild fish stocks. The book Loch Maree’s Missing Sea Trout is available through Amazon. I have also distributed a few hundred copies to those with an interest in wild fish. What is most interesting about this generosity is that I have not yet received one single comment from anyone in Scotland about whether they think that the content of the book has any validity. It seems that there is a general opinion that if the wild fish sector does not acknowledge the book, then its content doesn’t exist. The wild fish sector has a narrative that salmon farming has damaged wild stocks and they are unwilling to let anyone try to undermine it. Interestingly, Corin Smith, who likes to negatively comment on anything to do with salmon farming, was sent a copy and has never mentioned it on his social media accounts despite his readiness to make personal attacks. The only comment I have actually seen is from another social media-based critic – Niall McKillop who wrote that he received a copy and immediately threw it in the rubbish bin. It’s good to see how those against salmon farming are so willing to listen to and engage with the other side of the debate.
    Sadly, the only ones to be hoodwinked by the wild fish sector seems to be the SSPO who continue to progress talks no doubt in the hope of being seen by the politicians to be co-operating with the wild sector. If they do decide to create a fund to help restore stocks of wild fish, then I will be first in the queue. So far, all my research has been self-funded. I have some out-of-the-box ideas that I wish to explore but my resources do not stretch that far. I would hope that FMS would be just as willing to fund me as they would some other attempt, but I suspect not. That would simply show concern for wild stocks of wild salmon and sea trout has more to do with money than safeguarding the future of these iconic fish.
    The news that FMS is continuing its attempt to extract money from the salmon farming industry to help improve the habitat of rivers and estuaries, comes as the BBC report that one of the fishery boards has begun a £5.5 million project aimed at tackling the decline in salmon numbers. They intend to plant one million trees to provide shade on tributaries of the River Dee. Such riparian planting seems to be the ‘in’ thing at the moment. The idea is that increased tree cover will shade the river is to give young fish a better chance of survival.
    I am not so convinced. The real problem for wild salmon appears to be out at sea and spending £5.5 million on planting trees will do nothing to stop marine mortality. Increasing river temperatures may also be associated with drier periods and therefore there is the possibility that adults may not be able to get up the river to breed, regardless of the presence of trees or not.
    In addition, I would suggest that if this one river board can afford to spend £5.5 million on planting trees, then they don’t really need financial help from the salmon farming industry.
    There are other things that can be done to safeguard the future of wild fish that don’t even require funding. I have previously suggested that reducing the length of the season might give fish a better chance of recovery. At the same time, the killing of fish for sport should be stopped. I have just seen on Twitter that angling advocate Wynn Davies has responded to the news that new byelaws have been introduced to protect wild salmon in cross border rivers between England and Wales. Mr Davies writes that ‘Is it not about time they introduce a bye-law prohibiting the lifting of a fish out of the water? It would immediately stop all the grip and grin brigades’ pictures on social media and magazines and enhance the prospects of the fish at the same time’.
    I was reminded of a video posted by ‘Scottish Gamekeepers’ on the opening day of the River Tay this year. It shows one of the first fish caught in 2020 Twitter. The fish was landed straight onto the grassy bank rather than kept in the water. It seems all those watching didn’t think that such landing technique was anything out of the ordinary. The comment accompanying the video states ‘fish released back into the river straight after’. Of course, by then, the fish was probably stressed to high heaven! Is this what the salmon industry will be supporting.
    I have written previously that if the salmon farming industry wants to invest in interactions between farmed and wild salmon then it now has a unique opportunity to see what impact farms have on wild fish and the wider environment. The removal of the salmon farm from Loch Ewe should be the subject of a major study, which the industry could fund. The wild fish lobby seem to expect the sea trout fishery in Loch Maree will be naturally restored. The evidence suggests otherwise but if the industry wants to give money away, this is where it should be spent, not on some questionable tree planting exercise or the like.

    Apologies: reLAKSation no 954 contained a couple of typographical errors that weren’t picked up during proofing. A couple of my readers from the wild fish sector delighted in pointing this out although by that time, the error had been picked up and corrected with a second mailing. I want to apologise for having to resort to sending out a corrected text. Hopefully it won’t happen again.
    I would like to remind readers that reLAKSation is not part of some slick industry PR activity. It is a weekly view on aspects of the aquaculture industry written by someone who also has a small business to run. Last week coincided with the end of the month and the need to spend more time preparing monthly reports and spreadsheets as well as invoices. reLAKSation is not funded or supported. It is simply the view of one person and if there are any typographical errors, then the blame is mine.

  6. #6
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    It doesn't take much time and certainly not as many words to determine where this split-tongued individual is coming from. A devil in (a laughable) disguise. A puppet run by the industry that pays him for consultancy services (his small business) and uses him to react on any form of opposition against its farming practices. Knowing where his money comes from, his last claim says it all. Pathetic, really.
    firefly

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    Certainly there is a perception that somehow Norway has signed up for closed containment. This is incorrect and is very much at odds with its stated progression to increase production four fold into the future. Having read the comments by certain angling organisations regarding new direction of the industry we (Salmon Watch Ireland) requested the presence of a top research scientist from Norway who is funded by the industry and Norwegian government to research the issue of systems which may help to expand the industry. The entire process which seeks to expand the industry principally revolves around systems which will reduce residence time in open cage technology but not exclude such technologies. In regard to technology the land based industry is fairly well settled but semi closed containment at sea is certainly in its infancy. Always be aware new technologies are not to protect wild fish but to protect their livestock.Salmon Watch Ireland - Annual Conference Proceedings 2019 - Salmon Watch Ireland

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    Quote Originally Posted by highlander gus View Post
    Interesting read, it would be nice if Scotland picked a loch which has had the run of wild fish depleted and made the fish farming industry close it down for a period of ten years to see if the wild salmon runs return or improve, but this would only show the farms is the problem
    Isn't the fish farm to be closed on the Ewe. Loch Marees revival will be interesting.
    Morphfly

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    Read in this mornings Herald that sales of farmed salmon are up by 22%.
    Bob.

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    I have been told not sure how true this is, that the feed factory built at kyleakin on Skye will be exporting feed to Norway and expects to return a profit next year, with the m looking to extend this.
    and we wonder why there is little to fish or feed wild fish in the seas.

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