Salmon and Trout Association petition calls on Scottish Government to act without delay – by relocating salmon farms away from the estuaries of major salmon rivers

As at 5 pm on 3 August, over 9,000 signatures supporting this major campaign have already been collected.

The survival of wild salmon and sea trout in the west Highlands and Islands is at a tipping point.  Fish farms, once hailed as economic saviours, threaten the very existence of sustainable west coast runs of one of our most iconic species. The Salmon & Trout Association’s (S&TA) recently launched petition is a dire warning of the impending disaster – and a call to arms to the Scottish Parliament to act before it is too late.  

Paul Knight, Executive Director of S&TA, said: “We fully recognise that salmon farming in Scotland makes a significant contribution to the Scottish economy. However this industry is also threatening the very survival of our wild salmon and sea trout in the west Highlands and Islands. It is the source of huge sea lice infestations that are literally eating our wild fish alive. It is fundamentally inequitable that the interests of the fish farm industry should be permitted to ride roughshod over one of the country’s greatest natural assets”.

Mr Knight continued: “Over the last decade there has been a wealth of research in both western Scotland, some of it conducted by Scottish Government scientists, and in other salmon farming areas overseas which has shown conclusively the devastating damage that sea lice emanating from the farms cause to runs of migrating wild salmon and sea trout. The only practical solution is to move the farms away from the most important estuaries”.

George Holdsworth, Scottish Policy Officer for S&TA, added: “There is a great deal of anger at the continuing intransigence of the Scottish Government to address this problem. This petition represents an opportunity for individuals to express their concerns and to show that their views are shared by very many thousands of others. We aim to use the petition as a vehicle to force Scottish Government to face up finally to its responsibilities and take appropriate action to ensure that salmon farming becomes, at long last, environmentally sustainable. We urge everyone who shares our concern to sign this important petition.  It is online at ”.

The petition will run until early 2010 and be delivered to the Scottish Parliament in the spring. Signatures are being collected on the ground at numerous events and retail premises as well as online at

The full text of the petition reads:


We the undersigned, call on the Scottish Government to take immediate action in recognition of its international responsibilities and overwhelming scientific evidence, from both the UK (including some of its own leading fisheries scientists) and abroad, with regard to the massive damage that is being caused to wild salmon and sea trout stocks from inappropriate fish farm activities. Wild salmon and sea trout stocks in the west Highlands and Islands have been decimated by sea lice infestations from salmon farms. Furthermore the positioning of salmon smolt farms within salmon river and loch systems has potentially disastrous implications for wild salmon populations; this practice is already banned in Norway. We therefore call on Scottish Government to ensure that:

· All sea-based fish farms are moved away from the estuaries of major wild salmon rivers to reduce the impact of sea lice.

· Salmon smolt farms are banned from operating within any wild salmon river system.