Our campaigns Stop salmon farming expansion There are just over 250 Atlantic salmon farms in Scotland, producing over 37 million salmon in 2018. The Scottish Government is committed to growth targets to double production by 2030, despite the inherent animal suffering in this cruel industry. It is time for radical change, so that farmed salmon are given quality lives. Until this happens, there should be no further expansion of this industry. Sign the petition What are the key welfare issues? More than 10 million salmon died during the production cycle in 2019: the highest number of premature deaths recorded by the industry. There are many factors that cause such high mortality rates. Salmon on farms in Scotland are stocked at high densities, in environments with no or little enrichment, and are exposed to sea lice, disease, predators and bad weather amongst other things. Sea lice Sea lice are parasites that feed on the flesh, scales and tissues of salmon. This leaves tissue exposed, causing pain and creating an entrance for disease, as well as causing stress and mortality. Sea lice burdens on salmon farms have been as high as 29.5 average adult female sea lice per fish. Disease Diseases are prevalent across salmon farms. They include Cardiomyopathy syndrome which impacts the heart muscle of salmon, leaving them weak and fragile; Amoebic Gill Disease, where parasites cause death via asphyxiation and Infectious Salmon Anaemia, which has no cure, meaning that infected fish must be slaughtered. In 2016, over 100,000 salmon died from Amoebic Gill Disease over a period of 10 weeks. Treatment Sadly, treatments for sea lice and disease often do more harm than good, exposing salmon to harsh chemicals or harsh mechanical treatments, causing stress, physical injury and death. A key example of this is the Thermolicer, whereby fish are exposed to high water temperatures, abrasive surfaces, and severe crowding. Mortalities can be high, in one incident, 10,619 salmon died following Thermolicer treatment. Escapes Escapes from salmon farms are frequent, with 300,000 salmon escaping in 2017. Salmon that escape are poorly adapted to a life in the wild and will suffer. Escaped farmed salmon also interbreed with wild individuals, which creates offspring with reduced fitness, which causes severe population declines of wild salmon. Welfare impacts: not just salmon It is not just farmed salmon that are impacted by salmon farming in Scotland. Cetaceans such as harbour porpoise are excluded from their habitat by acoustic deterrent devices intended to scare seals away, crustaceans are damaged by chemicals used and declines in wild salmon and trout numbers have been linked to salmon farming. Cleaner fish are used as an alternative “treatment” for sea lice, as they pick off and eat them from salmon. However, they too suffer on salmon farms from aggression, disease, and treatment damage. Most are not thought to survive the production cycle, and if they do they are disposed of by the industry to minimise the spread of disease. Media highlights Recent media coverage of our campaign to stop salmon farming expansion includes an article in The Ferret. “These animals deserve better. We are calling on the Scottish Government to immediately halt the continued expansion of Scottish salmon farming. Ultimately, intensive salmon farming must come to an end.” Kirsty Jenkins, OneKind R.Edwards, 'Suffering 'endemic' at Scottish salmon farms', The Ferret, 23 March 2021 Progress in our Stop our Salmon Farming Expansion campaign We co-ordinated a joint letter from 30 experts to the Scottish Government, urging them to not sideline salmon welfare. We released a joint salmon farming report with Compassion in World Farming, “Underwater cages, parasites, and dead fish”. In June 2020, the Scottish Government announced it would ban the killing, injuring and taking of seals in Scotland- a common practice by Scotland's salmon farms. We had long campaigned for this ban. In 2018 we released three reports on the salmon farming industry: Fish welfare on Scotland’s salmon farms; The welfare status of Scottish salmon farms and companies in 2017;The welfare status of salmon farms and companies in Scotland - 2017 and Cleaner fish welfare on Scotland’s salmon farms. In 2018, we contributed to two Scottish Parliamentary Inquiries on salmon farming in Scotland, urging that fish welfare was kept at the centre of the discussion. We also presented the key issues on welfare on salmon farms in Scotland to the Cross-Party Group for Animal Welfare.