A shocking investigation recently came to light led by Compassion in World Farming (CIWF), pointing to the methods and abuses of the salmon industry in Scotland. Using drones and divers, the NGO investigated between September and November 2020 in around thirty farms across the country. It denounces the animal suffering and pollution that this industry is believed to cause.
You should understand that if you eat salmon at all, there is a good chance that it is Scottish. The country is the third largest producer of farmed Atlantic salmon in the world. A rank that involves responding to significant demand spread across 50 countries. A frantic pace that has its limits, as evidenced by the images taken by CIWF.
They show huge industrial farms crowded with salmon, an animal that usually travels thousands of kilometres when migrating. On site, CIWF explains having seen blind or misshapen salmon, but also victims of sea lice. What is that? It is a parasite that comes to eat the fish and slowly kill it. This is a scourge for manufacturers, who consequently employ methods, such as chemical baths, which would then kill a large number of these fishes. The NGO mentions about a quarter of the fish that would not even reach the slaughterhouse.
Pollution for local biodiversity
Failure to respect animal welfare and high mortality, coupled with harmful effects on the surrounding ecosystems. The industry uses chemicals that cause significant damage to local biodiversity. The dead fish are thrown into garbage cans where the local fauna comes to feed. Fish that have themselves lived through the hell of the treatments inflicted by the aquatic farms.
Faced with the situation, CIWF is today calling for a moratorium on expanding salmon farming, as the government plans to expand the industry by 2030.
Tavish Scott, director of the Scottish Salmon Producers' Organization, reacted to AFP about the investigation, explaining that:
Key passages (...) are false, inaccurate and misleading.