Salmon myth

Can someone explain the significance of the headline, “Salmon is favourite for exports” (23 March)?

To me this headline infers that the salmon farming industry is of economic benefit to Scotland and the UK and that would be a misleading conclusion. Salmon farming in Scotland is 95 per cent owned by overseas companies and pays a negligible amount of tax to the UK Exchequer, so there is not much benefit here.

Is there, then, any benefit to Scotland in employment and jobs?

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Again the answer is no: the salmon farming industry is highly automated, equipment and feed is largely imported and its operations have destroyed more jobs in the traditional wild fisheries than it has created.

Salmon farming is a polluting, eco-unfriendly and unsustainable industry and one that produces a food which contains artificial growth hormones, antibiotics and a host of other chemicals dangerous to human health – a very different food product to the nutritious wild salmon, which the salmon farming industry represents as being the same.

The final irony, and indignity, in this article is the misleading picture of a leaping wild salmon, a species, along with its cousin the sea trout, threatened with extinction due to the activities of the salmon farmers.

Perhaps the picture accompanying the article should have been of a prison cage containing 50,000 other salmon being drenched by tons of chemicals to eradicate sea lice.


The Knowes