image: feed silo for fish farm in Scotland.
UK – The world’s largest seafood company is coming under intense pressure to shift its fish farms further out to sea after its largest shareholder claimed the industry was helping to kill off wild salmon and trout populations.
A coalition of 32 conservation, angling and aboriginal peoples’ groups from the UK, Canada, Norway, Ireland, Iceland and the United States has written an open letter to Marine Harvest, which produces a third of the world’s farmed fish, urging it to ban fish farms from wild salmon and trout rivers.
John Fredriksen, a Norwegian shipping and oil industry billionaire who owns a 29 per cent share of Marine Harvest, surprised anglers and conservationists by directly linking fish farms to plunging wild fish populations – a link the industry has repeatedly disputed. A keen angler who is reputedly worth £3.5bn and has a home in Chelsea, he told a Norwegian newspaper earlier this year: “I am concerned about the future for wild salmon. Fish farming should not be allowed in fjords with salmon rivers.”
The letter’s signatories, who include Friends of the Earth Scotland, several British anglers’ associations and Canadian “first nation” groups from British Columbia, said they applauded Mr Fredriksen’s remarks, adding: “Sea lice, infectious diseases and genetic and ecological interactions of escaped farmed salmon with wild salmon are a serious threat to the future of both wild Atlantic and Pacific salmon.”
Some communities such as the one called COAST, who represent people of Ayrshire, have been contesting a new industrial scale Marine Harvest fish farm in their area based on a wider variety of environmental factors such as visual pollution and threats to marine and bird life. More here.