Salmon & Trout Conservation UK report: “We have just launched a new petition, hosted on the Scottish Parliament’s website, as part of our strategy to put real pressure on the Scottish Government to provide long-overdue statutory protection to wild fish from what is probably the greatest scourge of our wild salmon and sea trout – the damaging and often lethal impacts of salmon farming in the west Highlands and Islands.

The group continues: “We are not making unrealistic draconian demands, such as the closing down of the aquaculture industry. What we are asking for is proper statutory controls to prevent or curtail damage to wild fish from sea lice which are able to proliferate on salmon farms. We cannot continue tolerate a regulatory regime which turns a blind eye to billions of sea lice being discharged from poorly managed salmon farms into the open sea which are then able to latch on to migrating wild smolts with often fatal consequences. Scottish Government must now follow the example of Norway, where compulsory culling of farmed fish is mandatory when the number of sea lice in the cages exceed specified levels. It is inexcusable that our wild salmon and sea trout are afforded such comparably limited protection.

S&TCUK continues: “It is worth remembering that the negative impact of sea lice from salmon farms stretches far beyond the west Highlands and Islands. Salmon smolts from the south-west of Scotland and indeed north-west England and Wales must pass through the lice-infested waters of western Scotland. Similarly smolts from eastern Scotland are highly vulnerable as they traverse close to the salmon farming centres of Orkney and Shetland.

You can sign the petition here: http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/GettingInvolved/Petitions/PE01598