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Digital Subscriptions > The Oban Times & Lochaber Times > 14th July 2016 > Fish farms destroying our marine ecology

Fish farms destroying our marine ecology


I HAVE been fortunate to have visited the northwest Scottish coast and islands over a period of 40 years, during which time I have spoken with many anglers and netsmen who fish these rivers and coastal waters and have witnessed the collapse and demise of once abundant wild game fisheries.

Stocks of wild migratory salmon and sea trout are now a shadow of their past. Stocks that do survive are, in many cases, now infested with sea lice and appear emancipated fish. Disease from intensive fish farming operations and the risk of escapee interbreeding causing dilution of genetic integrity is also an ever present threat. Sea survival of salmon and sea trout smolts that migrate from fresh water to the sea have crashed in this period and a figure of two per cent returning as adults are current estimates for West Coast salmon (previously 20 per cent in the 1970-80s).

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