Salmon eggs. (Photo: Stock File)
NGO requests Scottish Govt. to stop salmon egg imports
Tuesday, April 18, 2017, 00:40 (GMT + 9)
The Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture is calling on the Scottish Government to curb egg imports so as to protect the genetic integrity and sanitary status of 'Scottish' salmon.
These campaigners’ request stems after the Scottish government revealed that 90 per cent of 'Scottish' salmon is now imported as eggs from overseas with Norway accounting for 86 per cent of egg imports.
According to these official data, in 2016, 53 per cent of imported eggs were sourced via Aquagen, a company genetically fingered by a peer-reviewed scientific paper as the source of ISA outbreak in Chile, the NGO recalls.
Don Staniford, Director of the Global Alliance Against Industrial Aquaculture, stated the Norwegian invasion has annihilated Scotland's iconic salmon and left a lasting legacy of genetic pollution.
Accusing Scottish firms of false marketing, Staniford insisted the Scottish Government should immediately stop imports of foreign ova, which he considers to increase the risks of deadly diseases such as infectious salmon anaemia.
The environment leader stresses that companies such as Marine Harvest, Scottish Sea Farms and the Scottish Salmon Company are trading on the internationally recognised image of Scottish salmon yet import salmon eggs from Norway.
On the other hand, he recalls that the latest annual report of Marine Harvest shows that its Scottish farms are struggling to control sea lice infestation.
The report shows that 69 per cent of its Scottish sites breached statutory sea lice limits. The highest figure elsewhere was in Canada, where 13 per cent of sites were above the national trigger level for chemical treatment.
“Sea lice remain our number one challenge, and as such will continue to be our top research and development priority for the foreseeable future. Although we still have a way to go, we expect to reap the benefits of our efforts,” pointed out Marine Harvest’s CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog.
For his part, Andrew Graham-Stewart, director of campaign body Salmon & Trout Conservation Scotland, said: “The situation in Scotland compared to other countries is shocking. This is incontrovertible proof that Scotland is the dirty man of global aquaculture.”
In defense of the sector, Scott Landsburgh, chief executive of the Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation, said there is insufficient capacity to meet the ever-increasing demand for Scottish farmed salmon.
“As a member of the EU, we are bound by rules governing free trade with other countries. All of the eggs used by the Scottish salmon farming industry hatch and complete their life cycle in Scotland. Scottish provenance is defined by the environment in which the fish are grown from hatching through to harvest,” he stressed.